David Pauley’s Success

Dave · June 2, 2011 at 6:11 am · Filed Under Mariners 

My latest piece for the Brock and Salk blog is now live – I’ll be on with the guys on 710 ESPN at 9:30 to discuss this and the rest of the goings on with the team.

Here’s the first few paragraphs of the piece, and you can read the rest at 710sports.com.

Perhaps no part of the Mariners surprising success so far this season has been more unexpected than the development of David Pauley into a reliable relief ace for Eric Wedge to turn to. Pauley began the year as a long reliever, but has pitched his way into a highly valuable role as a rubber-arm who doesn’t give up runs, and his ability to get critical outs in front of Brandon League is one of the main reasons the Mariners are over .500 with an offense that is still pretty terrible.

It’s not that uncommon for starting pitchers to go to the bullpen and get better. In fact, almost all relief pitchers are failed starters who have resurrected their careers in relief. In many cases, relievers possess some flaw that keeps them from succeeding in the rotation, but those weaknesses can be hidden in short stints where they are only asked to get three outs at a time. Relievers also benefit from the ability to throw as hard as possible on every pitch, since they don’t have to pace themselves and stay on the mound for six innings or more.

That is why a pitcher such as League – the prototypical modern reliever – can succeed while throwing just two high-octane pitches. However, Pauley is different, and he’s succeeding in a way entirely different from most relievers.


18 Responses to “David Pauley’s Success”

  1. SoulofaCitizen on June 2nd, 2011 8:54 am

    Can you say more, David, about Pauley’s potential as a starter? At the end of the article you mention it as a possibility if Bedard was traded. If he really could step in at a Fister or above level, then maybe they could trade Bedard and get a decent left fielder.

  2. robbbbbb on June 2nd, 2011 9:14 am


  3. GripS on June 2nd, 2011 10:00 am

    David Pauley doesn’t get enough recognition for what he’s done so far this season. Simply amazing.

    I wonder if when Pineda gets shut down that Pauley moves into his spot.

  4. sexymarinersfan on June 2nd, 2011 10:14 am


  5. mlathrop3 on June 2nd, 2011 10:16 am


  6. Mike Snow on June 2nd, 2011 10:31 am

    If the post was about what the Mariners could get in return for Pauley, or how they needed to replace him, maybe it would be okay to let trade fantasies dominate the entire thread. Since neither of those is on the table, how about if we discuss Pauley instead? Whether it’s how he’s doing in the bullpen now, his potential as a starter, or anything that involves his role with the team, all of those would be great to talk about.

  7. Chris_From_Bothell on June 2nd, 2011 10:37 am

    If Pauley is so great at what he’s doing now, why not just establish him in the bullpen indefinitely? Why must there be impetus to move him to being a starter?

    (I say that from the team’s point of view, of course. Pauley would probably prefer to be what pays more, long-term, which would be a starter.)

  8. sexymarinersfan on June 2nd, 2011 10:40 am

    I read that “most scouts would say that you wouldn’t want a pitcher like Pauley or Laffey on they’re team.” Yet here they are holding their own a third of the way through the season.

  9. Liam on June 2nd, 2011 10:46 am

    Dave mentioned Pauley stepping in for Erik Bedard, but you could also add Michael Pineda to that list if the M’s look to limit his innings down the stretch.

  10. CMC_Stags on June 2nd, 2011 10:52 am

    If Pauley is so great at what he’s doing now, why not just establish him in the bullpen indefinitely? Why must there be impetus to move him to being a starter?

    Starters pitch more innings and therefore have more impact by nature than relievers. The M’s rotation next year – barring injury – has four of the 5 slots locked in with Felix ($19M), Pineda (team control), Vargas (Arb 2), and Fister (team control). Pauley (team control) would be the only good internal option for the 5th starter if Bedard is not resigned.

    If the M’s feel that the team is better off trading Bedard for prospects this year and then finishing the season with Pauley in the rotation, that would be a defensible argument. My opinion is if team is worried about contending as well as Pineda’s long term health, I’d rather see Bedard retained for the rest of the season and Pauley spot start to keep Pineda’s innings down. (Edit: Liam beat me to this point)

    Note – contract status from Cot’s. Team control means the team can pay the player whatever they want, normally the league minimum or a little over ($414k). Vargas is probably in line for a large arbitration raise from the $2.45M he makes this year.

  11. mlathrop3 on June 2nd, 2011 12:23 pm

    Let me restate my post…

    How long do we have Pauley under club control for? I assume he is making near league minimum.

  12. greentunic on June 2nd, 2011 12:26 pm

    Anyone else notice the grilling recipe ad right next to the anti-meat message ad on this page? Priceless.

  13. Ibuprofen on June 2nd, 2011 12:28 pm

    I love the idea of moving Pauley to the starting rotation if the team decides to ship out Bedard or start limiting Pineda’s innings down the stretch. He’s definitely our best bet if we’re going to grab someone from the bullpen to fill in a starter’s role.

  14. CMC_Stags on June 2nd, 2011 12:37 pm

    How long do we have Pauley under club control for? I assume he is making near league minimum.

    According to Cot’s, he’ll be in his arbitration years from 2013 to 2015 and will be a free agent leading into the 2016 season.

  15. Chris_From_Bothell on June 2nd, 2011 1:24 pm

    Egad, I hadn’t really looked at Tacoma’s starting staff until this conversation… start with French and go downhill from there…

    Yeah, Pauley’s pretty well as close to a decent 5th/6th starter as they have with the major league club right now, isn’t he.

  16. Badbadger on June 2nd, 2011 1:40 pm

    I can’t help but wonder if the results Pauley is getting out of his change up are just an artifact of the small sample size. He’s only pitched 33 innings, and his BABIP is 0.198. His ground ball percentage is up like 2%, but mostly it looks to me like he’s just been lucky. It’s not like he’s striking out a guy and inning with his change or anything

  17. moyerLIVES on June 2nd, 2011 1:44 pm

    So who steps into those high leverage innings if Pauley goes? I suppose any scenario that has the team trading Bedard means that they’re not really contending anyways, so there’s less leverage involved, but given how small the bullpen rotation has been so far, I’m not sure who would stand to get the innings that Pauley isn’t throwing.

    I hope this scenario doesn’t involve a lot more Chris Ray. I still don’t trust him on the mound yet.

  18. dallin on June 2nd, 2011 5:34 pm

    In more than one place I’ve seen Pauley mentioned as a potential All Star. Do you guys think that this is a possibility? If you would’ve asked me about All Star candidates preseason on this team, I probably would’ve listed 24 guys before Pauley (okay, not really…but still).

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