Rotation roundup, Sherrill’s struggles, Majors for Morrow?, Ichiro: “Icky!”

JMB · March 25, 2007 at 10:30 am · Filed Under Mariners 

AP story: M’s announce starting rotation. King Felix, Washburn, Batista, Ramirez, Weaver the Lesser. Is Jeff Weaver, at $8+M, the most expensive fifth starter in baseball? Hmm. Hargrove did say that given Weaver’s veteran-ness, they won’t be skipping the fifth starter even when given the opportunity by the schedule.

I can’t decide if this headline is amusing, or sad. “Sherrill lowers ERA to 15.00.” Ouch. I’m sure he’s got this one pinned up in his locker.

Also, Mark Lowe begins throwing this week (multiple sources).

As for young Brandon Morrow

PEORIA, Ariz. – Final roster decisions won’t be made until next weekend, but one thing has become a near certainty for the Seattle Mariners.

Rookie pitcher Brandon Morrow, a spring training invitee who has just eight games of professional experience, has all but made the team.

“I don’t have a whole lot of problem with it,” manager Mike Hargrove said Saturday. “There’s been a lot of discussion but if he continues to throw the way he’s throwing, I know what my recommendation is going to be.”

Finally, from the Arizona Republic:

Ichiro laid down a perfect drag bunt that started a winning ninth-inning rally against the Oakland Athletics. During the postgame celebration, Piniella, his manager – arguably most exuberant and extroverted manager in baseball since Billy Martin – rushed up with a bear hug and a big ol’ smooch on the cheek.

Ichiro didn’t say much at the time but later told a Japanese TV crew: “It’s something that makes most Japanese men want to throw up.”

Uh huh.


56 Responses to “Rotation roundup, Sherrill’s struggles, Majors for Morrow?, Ichiro: “Icky!””

  1. Dave on March 26th, 2007 1:39 pm

    First one that comes to mind is Billy Swift. Came up before he had learned to pitch, struggled for years before finally getting it together after being traded away in the Kevin Mitchell fiasco.

    Swifty got 39 innings (7 starts) in the minors before his major league debut in 1985, then bounced back and forth between Seattle and Calgary in 1986. In all, he racked up 141 minor league innings in his career.

    So yea, the M’s rushed Bill Swift to the majors. But what they’re attempting to do with Morrow is even more unprecedented.

  2. Gomez on March 26th, 2007 1:55 pm

    His velocity and movement show significant potential, which is really what teams are looking for when they draft a player. Just because Morrow isn’t ready to be a major league starter right now doesn’t mean he never will be.

    He has potential to be a quality member of the rotation, but he won’t fulfill that potential without some more development. Casting that potential aside because you deem it to be unlikely is just a waste of a good arm.

    I see your points, Dave. I can see this stunting Morrow’s development (if the chain of events locks him into MLB reliever status) as easily as I can see this being a positive learning experience for him.

    Another thought (ain’t I just full of them today): Could this also be an opportunity to try a different approach to developing a pitcher? Think about how the Mariners went about in developing all those prospects who ran into arm trouble, Ryan Anderson, Gil Meche, et al. IIRC these pitchers started along as starters with full workloads in the minors and came up working that same heavy load, with developing, questionable mechanics and skills, with the possibility of developing poor habits that need correcting.

    Could this also be an opportunity to experiment with developing the toolbox and skills, against top talent that will definitely punish your mistakes, before developing the stamina? Usually, pitchers go through this skill development in the minors while having to throw 90-120 pitches every five days, which can wear a pitcher out more than the workload would normally indicate while the physical overload can contribute to bad habits. Being a reliever can allow this education to be introduced and absorbed in smaller doses.

    By no means do I consider any of this an ironclad possibility. It’s just a thought.

  3. Gomez on March 26th, 2007 2:08 pm

    Sorry, should’ve been clearer with the point I was trying to make. the Twins started Liriano in the bullpen, then made him a starter, and then pulled a “Tommy Lasorda” and worked him into the ground — Yikes! Probably won’t happen to Morrow with the M’s, look at how they treated Felix last year. Though with Hargrove, you never know….

    Given the overtly violent torque of Liriano’s mechanics on his shoulder and elbow, he certainly didn’t help his own chances of avoiding major injury. There’s certainly some concern with Felix, but his motion, for its flaws, is a bit more normalized.

  4. dw on March 26th, 2007 3:48 pm

    The Felix-phobia of the media re: his injury potential has been somewhat amusing, as if Liriano’s problems in any way reflect Felix’s delivery flaws. They assume that because Liriano pitched himself into TJS, Felix is going to, too.

    The media loves to take one data point and draw a line with it.

  5. Dave on March 26th, 2007 4:02 pm

    Could this also be an opportunity to try a different approach to developing a pitcher?

    If this was part of an organizational shift towards another way of developing pitchers, and they had done a bunch of work to try to come up with a new plan to help keep their young arms healthier, I’d be jumping up and down with glee.

    It’s not. This is Mike Hargrove seeing a guy throwing 96 MPH and saying “me like, me want”, and the front office not having the stones to tell him no. This isn’t about Brandon Morrow’s development, as Hargrove even explicitly told the media that the other day. This is about Hargrove believing that Morrow gives him a better chance to win games this year because he’s pitching well in exhibition games that don’t count. It’s the same reason Eric O’Flaherty might get a job over George Sherrill.

    As much as I wish it was, this isn’t part of an organizational overhaul to handle pitchers better. It’s part of a manager’s desire to not get himself fired.

  6. eponymous coward on March 26th, 2007 5:28 pm

    Yeah, pretty much, Dave- and I’m hoping Bavasi’s better instincts win out over HIS urge not to get fired and to promote minor leaguers aggressively, because those two factors have to be present as well.

    There’s probably a lot of the organization that’s grasping at straw right now to stay afloat, after 3 last place finishes and public pronunciementos by El Jefe Lincoln.

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