“There’s no such thing, in the big leagues, as too much depth at any position,” Zduriencik said.
Mariners Depth Chart:
Right-Handed Starting Pitchers:
I think it’s fairly easy to argue that the Mariners currently have a surplus of right-handed relievers and a remarkable shortage of right-handed starting pitchers. Moving Aumont to the bullpen doesn’t give the team more depth – it just moves organizational depth from an area of scarcity to an area of abundance. Okay, it accelerates Aumont’s path to the majors, but the marginal increase in value added by having Aumont on the roster as a reliever is extremely low. Trying to get right-handed relievers to the majors more quickly simply should not be an organizational goal right now.
Sure, there are scenarios where this pays off. Maybe Morrow can’t find his insulin pump, Lowe’s arm falls off again, Aardsma proves he’ll never be able to throw strikes consistently, Kelley gets exposed as a righty specialist, Fields doesn’t develop any command, Cordero’s shoulder problems persist, Pena, Delgado, and Kahn all flame out as big armed Triple-A guys, and the team finds itself badly in need of a relief ace to help push the team over the top down the stretch of a pennant race that miraculously occurred in spite of the total implosion of the bullpen. And maybe I’ll win the lotto tomorrow, buy the team, and order this move rescinded. Both scenarios are about equally probable.
The whole point of stockpiling live armed, no cost relievers all winter was so that you could build a bullpen without using significant assets. I’m all for organizational depth, but this is just robbing Peter of his mortgage money so Paul can order everyone a round at the Met.
After Felix, the cupboard of right-handed major league starting pitching is barren. Meanwhile, the M’s could have an entire bullpen of guys who threw 95+ if they wanted. They could almost have two entire bullpens stocked with flamethrowers!
Yes, Phillippe Aumont might be one of those guys whose stuff plays up in relief and his most valuable role is as a reliever. But that’s a decision for after he’s failed as a starter, which he hasn’t done yet. This is short-sighted, and while it’s okay to experiment, feel free to call this one off at any time. The organization needs Aumont as a potential starter in 2011 a lot more than they need him as a potential reliever in 2010.