A Replacement For Ian Snell
Update: Resop’s line in his final AAA start: 9 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K. Yeah, he’s worth a shot.
I think everyone agrees that Ian Snell‘s usefulness to the Mariners has passed. He’s pitching worse than ever, and with a $6.5 million team option for 2011 that is surely not to be picked up, he has no future in Seattle. He’s just taking up a roster spot at this point, and the team is best served releasing him and giving those innings to someone who may help the team going forward.
Here’s my suggestion for Snell’s roster spot – Chris Resop. You may not know much about him, so here’s some background information.
The Marlins used their 4th round selection in 2001 on Resop, then an outfielder, but converted him to the mound in 2003 in order to capitalize on his big arm. He dominated the lower minors out of the bullpen on his way up the ladder, but struggled in the majors in his rookie season of 2005. The Marlins eventually traded him to the Angels in 2006 for Kevin Gregg, where his career went south. He had some arm problems and eventually required elbow surgery in 2007. The Braves picked him off waivers in 2008, hoping his velocity would translate to major league success, but eventually sold his contract to the Hanshin Tigers, where he spent the next year and a half. He didn’t pitch particularly well in Japan, so he returned to the U.S. this year and got a minor league deal with the Braves.
He impressed Atlanta’s staff in spring training so much that they put him in the rotation for Triple-A Gwinnett, and he hasn’t let them down yet. Through his first 12 starts of the season, he’s pitched 64 1/3 innings, walked 27, struck out 73, and is running a 49 percent ground ball rate to boot. He’s been one of the best pitchers in all of minor league baseball, using a power fastball offset with a pretty decent curveball.
So, why would the Braves give him up? Well, his minor league contract contains an out clause on June 15th, which means the Braves will lose him if they don’t put him on the big league roster by next Tuesday. Their rotation is full, and speculation out of Atlanta is that they’ll likely trade him rather than put him in their bullpen. So, he’s probably the most available pitcher in all of the minor leagues
He’s probably not an ace in the making. It’s just 12 starts in Triple-A, after all. He’s shown a pretty big platoon split, so he may struggle to get big league lefties out. But you know what? He’s a 27-year-old with some upside who has just over one year’s worth of major league service time, so whoever gives him a shot will own his rights for five years, and be able to pay him peanuts for the next two or three. He’s the kind of guy that bad teams can take a flyer on and see if it pans out.
If Resop pitches well in the majors, well, then the M’s have another solid arm for 2011. If he doesn’t, then he’s no different than Ian Snell. It’s a no risk move with some upside. Make the move, Mariners.