The Next Five Days

Dave · July 24, 2009 at 9:10 am · Filed Under Mariners 

The next five days for the M’s should be fairly interesting, if only to see how Wak handles the line-ups. Check out the pitchers the M’s are scheduled to go against between now and Tuesday.

Friday, Aaron Laffey, LHP
Saturday, Jeremy Sowers, LHP
Sunday, Cliff Lee, LHP
Monday, Ricky Romero, LHP
Tuesday, Mark Rzepczynski, LHP

A couple of months ago, this would have been fantastic news. Not so much now, with Beltre on the shelf and Gutierrez questionable due to the wall crash in Detroit. Now, the line-up features guys like Langerhans and Hannahan, in addition to Ichiro/Branyan/Griffey, so facing a lefty isn’t a benefit like it was earlier this year. And five straight lefties? This isn’t exactly the stretch you want to see when you’re trying to bust Russ Branyan out of a slump.

Then, there’s the issue of who goes to make room for RRS on the roster tonight. Chris Shelton is the guy without a job, but punting him before a string of LHPs doesn’t make a lot of sense. Roy Corcoran is the most vulnerable reliever, but if they’re going to use Jakubauskas to start on Sunday, then they’d be down to a six man bullpen for the weekend, and none of the Hyphen/Bedard/Jak trio can really be expected to give you 7+ innings. They could option Olson to Tacoma, but there’s a 10 day stay required in Triple-A after being optioned, so the M’s wouldn’t be able to bring him back if they moved a pitcher or two at the deadline, and they’re not likely to want to be put in that situation.

Lots of tough calls for the M’s this weekend.


23 Responses to “The Next Five Days”

  1. ivan on July 24th, 2009 9:23 am

    Cut Sweeney or DL him again. Or make him a coach or something, if he’s so damn good for “chemistry.” Free Chris Shelton.

  2. PositivePaul on July 24th, 2009 9:30 am

    Well they could certainly send Sweeney to the “DL” and call up Olson if they needed him quickly after optioning him back down. Isn’t there an exemption to the 10-day for injury, even if you’re swapping a position player on the DL for a pitcher?

    And trading a pitcher isn’t mutually exclusive from getting a pitcher back who you would replace the traded pitcher on the 25-man.

    But, yeah, I keep hearing that they’ve made it “hard” for Zduriencik. In his direct interviews, however elusive, he’s still pretty clearly got a vision for the team, deadline or not…

  3. Steve Nelson on July 24th, 2009 9:32 am

    Option Olson to Tacoma, and then arrange for a flare-up of Sweeney’s back spasms if you need Olson back before his 10 days in Tacoma is up.

  4. Steve Nelson on July 24th, 2009 9:33 am

    I guess Paul and I think alike. But he’s clearly faster with a keyboard than I am.

  5. Dave on July 24th, 2009 9:35 am

    If you option Olson and use Jakubauskas on Sunday, you don’t have a long reliever.

  6. Pete Livengood on July 24th, 2009 9:38 am

    Well, not a good one…but you do have Batista.

  7. CMC_Stags on July 24th, 2009 9:38 am

    They could option Olson to Tacoma, but there’s a 10 day stay required in Triple-A after being optioned, so the M’s wouldn’t be able to bring him back if they moved a pitcher or two at the deadline, and they’re not likely to want to be put in that situation.

    Would this be that limiting of a factor? Could they call Vargas up instead to take the rotation spot if a starter got moved at the deadline?

    Free Chris Shelton.

    Agreed. The team is finally fairly lefty/righty balanced, but needs to have bench/platoon/PH candidates and I just don’t see Kenji filling the RH side of that equation very well.

    For RH the team is likely to start Lopez, Cedeno, Johnson/Johjima, and Wlad/Gutz. That’s a problem if the rest of the line up is Griffey, Branyan, Ichiro, Hannahan, and Langerhans.

    Of those, the people who I could see being switched out are Griffey for Sweeney or Shelton, Hannahan for Woodward, and Langerhans for Wlad (if Gutierrez is healthy). Wakamatsu probably can’t bench all of them for the full five games (nor should he), but are there any cases where it makes more sense to start as many RH as possible?

    Career tOPS+ splits From
    Laffey: RHB 102, LHB 94
    Sowers: RHB 104, LHB 86
    Lee: RHB 102, LHB 95
    Romero: RHB 87, LHB 130 (SSS warning, RHB babip .268, LHB babip .365)
    Rzepczynski: too small of a sample

    So it seems like stacking the RHB against Sowers would make some sense as well as possibly Rzepczynski (anyone have his MiLB splits?).

  8. Flowin on July 24th, 2009 9:39 am

    Why not just send Roy down (he is our worst reliever), and then send down Shelton Sunday. Bring up Vargas (I honestly believe he is our best 5th starter behind Hyphen), and then keep Jak as our long reliever.

    The rotation that gives us the best chance to win is the big three, Hyphen and then Vargas.

  9. Breadbaker on July 24th, 2009 9:42 am

    It is ironic how the handedness of the lineup has evolved over the season. Makes you see how valuable switch-hitters can be. I wish we had some.

  10. Dave on July 24th, 2009 9:44 am

    Why not just send Roy down (he is our worst reliever), and then send down Shelton Sunday.

    They’re both out of options. You can’t send them down. You’d have to DFA them.

  11. Flowin on July 24th, 2009 9:47 am

    They’re both out of options. You can’t send them down. You’d have to DFA them.

    Oh wow… that complicates things then. Thanks Dave. Then I don’t envy the decision that Wak has to make. I guess the next best option is to send down Olson, but still, I like him as a lefty specialist coming out of the pen. This is a tough call.

  12. busplunger on July 24th, 2009 9:51 am

    At 1B/DH, you’re probably going to have to play one lefty and one righty for this stretch. So Branyan or Griffey at one spot, Shelton or Sweeney at the other.

    As much as I’d like to send Olson down and call up Vargas for the spot start and hope it works out… I think I’d probably have to option Shelton instead and hope Sweeney can play five straight days. If he tweaks his back or something, I think you get that exception and can rush Shelton back up.

    It’s not an ideal spot to be in, and maybe injuries or trades will solve the problem anyway, but I guess that’s what I’d do.

    Unless Griffey’s knee needs 15 days to rest up…

  13. busplunger on July 24th, 2009 9:52 am

    Of course, as soon as I say “option Shelton” Dave points out that’s impossible. D’oh.

  14. Tek Jansen on July 24th, 2009 10:35 am

    Maybe Griffey to the DL to rest his knees?

  15. Alaskan on July 24th, 2009 10:41 am

    Send Wlad down if Guti’s ready to come back. That makes KGJ your short-term 4th OF?

  16. Pine Tar on July 24th, 2009 10:45 am

    I think you got it busplunger. This situation with the trade deadline approaching screams DL. Tendonitis anyone?

  17. busplunger on July 24th, 2009 10:52 am

    I’m quite sure Wlad is out of options, too. Even if you traded him, you’d be back to that situation where Griffey and/or Cedeno are your reserve outfielders, and even that doesn’t really work with Cedeno now at SS full time.

    Unless they have plans to trade a pitcher in the next day or two, I think they only feasible choices are:

    1) Option Olson. Depending on how the next couple days shake out in terms of bullpen usage, you either start Jakubauskas on Sunday or call up Vargas. If you call up Vargas, you’re merely postponing this dilemma for a couple more days and hoping it solves itself via injury or trade.

    2) DFA Shelton. He’s redundant with Sweeney and Wlad as righty bench bats and you don’t have the luxury of keeping him on the 25-man anymore. Hope he clears and accepts the assignment to AAA but if not, you don’t cry over losing a replacement-level 1B bat.

  18. DMZ on July 24th, 2009 10:53 am

    Why in the world would you get rid of Shelton and not Sweeney?

  19. busplunger on July 24th, 2009 11:07 am

    My cold-hearted self would dump Sweeney before Shelton (actually, I did that in Baseball Mogul much earlier in the season, but never mind).

    But I’m operating under the assumption that in the real world they like him for his intangibles and all that stuff. And that they won’t cut him just after activating him from his please-may-we-stash-you-on-the-DL stint.

    I’d love to be wrong, though.

  20. Pine Tar on July 24th, 2009 11:37 am

    As far as Sunday, I will put my money on Jakubauskas starting and Olson coming out of the pen. Jak has been cleaning up after Olson (an Morrow before that). So Jak and Olson will just be swapping roles. Wak is on record saying Olson is good out of the bullpen.

  21. busplunger on July 24th, 2009 12:51 pm

    I think I like that idea the best. Try to save Jakubauskas for the Sunday start and hope Batista can handle any long relief duty that comes along. If you absolutely must burn Jak before then, then you have Vargas primed in Tacoma, and you swap those two.

    (I’m not 100% clear on the option year rules but considering Jakubauskas has never been optioned, I’m assuming he could be.)

    Anyway, in theory, the last spot in the bullpen (or spot starters) can be cycled around on-demand if you have the right pieces waiting in AAA. As we’ve noted above, they don’t have that flexibility with any of the bench bats.

  22. busplunger on July 24th, 2009 12:54 pm

    And just to clarify, the above implies that Olson gets optioned to make way for RRS.

  23. Kazinski on July 24th, 2009 2:09 pm

    If they can’t bring themselves to make the decision to DFA Sweeney they don’t belong making the decisions for a MLB club. Sure he’s great in the clubhouse, so make him a coach, or minor league instructor, to ease the transition. He doesn’t have the ties to the organization that Griffey does, and he’s had his farewell tour, hit his 200th HR, said goodbye to all his friends in all the clubhouses around the league. We’ll all miss him. Goodbye.

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