Beavan in Rotation, Iwakuma to Bullpen

Dave · March 21, 2012 at 10:15 am · Filed Under Mariners 

The M’s just announced on Twitter that the rotation to open 2012 will be Felix, Vargas, Noesi, Millwood, and Beavan. Noesi and Iwakuma will start the two exhibition games, so neither is likely to pitch in the regular season affairs over there.

As we talked about last night, this has been brewing for a few days, but I’m not sure it’s the right call. Beavan has an extremely limited upside, and he hasn’t done anything this spring that should make anyone think he’s more than just a back-end starter. Iwakuma might end up as that same kind of pitcher as well, but we just don’t really know what he is at this point, and I’m more interested in seeing if his success in Japan can translate to the big leagues than I am in whether Beavan can turn into Nick Blackburn.

That said, it’s not like they cut Iwakuma or anything, so if Beavan isn’t very good and he pitches well out of the bullpen, it won’t be too hard to swap them out. This isn’t the kind of thing that is carved in stone, and since the team has alternatives, Beavan will either be good or be replaced.


36 Responses to “Beavan in Rotation, Iwakuma to Bullpen”

  1. diderot on March 21st, 2012 10:21 am

    I agree both that I’d rather see Iwakuma given the shot…but that this isn’t the end of the world. If you want to imply to players that what they do in spring training matters, then this makes sense.
    On the other hand, I hope they don’t prematurely limit Furbush’s career to that of a lefty reliever. I think if he’s given a rotations spot in Tacoma, he still has the chance to join the M’s rotation someday.

  2. Mariners35 on March 21st, 2012 10:36 am

    Is Millwood in there as a legit contributor to the back of the rotation? Or did his “quiet veteran leadership and mentoring young pitchers” argle bargle trump better reasons to say, have Iwakuma or Furbush in there?

  3. Dave on March 21st, 2012 10:42 am

    Millwood pitched well last year, and there’s no reason to think he can’t be a decent innings sponge at the back of the rotation. He didn’t just make the team because he’s old.

  4. maqman on March 21st, 2012 10:52 am

    I’d prefer Erasmo to Millwood myself however I’m not a GM or Manager, mainly due to lack of experience.

  5. marc w on March 21st, 2012 10:53 am

    The M’s seemed to decide before spring that Furbush was best suited to the bullpen. I’m not sure I’m on board with that, but he was never actually competing with Millwood (or Beavan).

  6. dchappelle on March 21st, 2012 11:00 am

    It isn’t the worst thing to see if Beavan can actually keep his voodoo working over a full season. Maybe he can morph into Fister. Still has to be likely we see Iwakuma start this season as well.

  7. marc w on March 21st, 2012 11:16 am

    Agreed. Beavan’s projected FIP is in the low 4s, which seems great from a 5th starter.
    Iwakuma’s projections aren’t terribly informative for obvious reasons and he’s coming off of injury. Wedge spoke about this being a way to work him back from his shoulder troubles without making him go 90-100 pitches at a time, and that’s… well, that’s plausible, I guess.

    Beavan’s going to have games where he gives up too many HRs, but there’s something to be said for not walking anyone.

  8. Dave on March 21st, 2012 11:19 am

    What voodoo? He posted an ERA- of 109 last year, so he didn’t even really outperform his peripherals.

    Beavan is a below average starting pitcher with extremely limited upside. If you find that interesting, I don’t know what to tell you.

  9. bat guano on March 21st, 2012 11:25 am

    So is it reasonable to assume that Iwakuma has taken away whatever chance Erasmo had of making the team as a long man in the pen?

  10. Paul B on March 21st, 2012 11:42 am

    Almost certainly there will be changes to both the rotation and the bullpen by June.

    As long as they don’t actually release someone with decent upside and/or trade value, then I’m OK with it.

  11. stevemotivateir on March 21st, 2012 12:00 pm

    @bat guano

    Weird name man. Anyway, I don’t think this shows any lack of confidence in Ramirez as a reliever. It probably benefits him more to be a starter in Tacoma, rather than a pen guy on the Mariners. He’ll find his way into the rotation fast enough. I suppose the super-two thing might have had a small influence, but I don’t think there’s any real doubts about what he’ll be able to do.

  12. stevemotivateir on March 21st, 2012 12:01 pm


    I’m guessing Beavan would be the first to go.

  13. bat guano on March 21st, 2012 12:11 pm

    Thank Derek Zumsteg for my moniker—it was “Chico Ruiz” but he told me I could not use the name of a deceased ballplayer. So in semi-protest I went with a character from Dr. Strangelove, a favorite movie of mine.

    I gather that you are agreeing that Erasmo will be sent down for now.

  14. jjracoon on March 21st, 2012 12:17 pm

    Millwood would now take the 40 man slot vacated by Kuo so who will be dropped when Kawasaki makes the team??? Actually looking like the logical departure would be Luetge eh??

  15. Paul B on March 21st, 2012 12:31 pm

    “Iā€™m guessing Beavan would be the first to go.”

    Maybe, but someone could get injured, someone could be completely ineffective.

  16. Paul B on March 21st, 2012 12:34 pm

    “Millwood would now take the 40 man slot vacated by Kuo so who will be dropped when Kawasaki makes the team??? ”

    Shawn Camp. I assume he was on the 40 since he was on a ML contract.

  17. PackBob on March 21st, 2012 12:57 pm

    Wedge used the terms ‘transition’ and ‘initialy’ in his comments about Iwakuma, and mentioned last year’s health issues, so this may be seen as the best way for Iwakuma to progress rather than a statement as to who they consider to be the better starting pitcher.

  18. greentunic on March 21st, 2012 1:18 pm

    Is Felix going to throw anything above 90? Not fraking, just observing.

  19. marc w on March 21st, 2012 1:18 pm

    Right – Iwakuma pitched 119 IP last year dealing with a shoulder problem, and shoulder issues essentially torpedoed his 2005, 2006 and (parts of) 2007 seasons. Now, he’s moving to a league where starters pitch every 5 days and not once a week. Moving him along slowly seems like a good idea, and this weird, abbreviated spring training wasn’t going to be long enough to do that.

  20. stevemotivateir on March 21st, 2012 1:27 pm

    Good points Marc. Excellent points actually. It does make sense to ease him in.

  21. stevemotivateir on March 21st, 2012 1:35 pm


    Erasmo might be one of the bonus 5 headed for Japan. But I expect to see him in Tacoma’s rotation soon.

    If I had used a name from a favorite movie, it would be Skolnick, Takashi, Poindexter, or Bugger. Yes, I’m a nerd.

  22. stevemotivateir on March 21st, 2012 1:48 pm


    Of course injuries and poor performances can dictate changes, but Beavan isn’t likely part of the future here. Furbush has more upside, Ramirez and Hultzen are near ready, Paxton’s close as well, and Walker isn’t far behind any of them (if at all). What a great problem to have though…. lots of capable starters, most with a lot of upside!

  23. stevemotivateir on March 21st, 2012 2:15 pm

    Though I’m not worried about this last at-bat, it drove me crazy last year, seeing Saunders take called 3rd strikes.

  24. smb on March 21st, 2012 2:20 pm

    Does it seem like whatever offensive gains we make this year will probably be just about perfectly offset by the decrease in talent through the rotation (Fister and Pineda for Millwood and Noesi)?

  25. sexymarinersfan on March 21st, 2012 2:26 pm

    I like the rotation the way it is now. In fact this is exactly how I would’ve predicted it. I think the bullpen is,


    I think Furbush is the odd man out, until someone is injured, traded, or lack of performance. Vinnie C. is close. If Liddi could be up here soon if Carp, Seager, or Smoak do the same.

    I think having a veteran presence in the rotation is good for the core as a whole. The young guys will get a good look at how a professional handles himself every 5 days. Even Felix could learn from Kevin.

    I think we’re gonna surprise some people, and I think Seager will out hit Ackley this year.

  26. stevemotivateir on March 21st, 2012 2:27 pm

    I don’t know if it’s worth much, but longer offensive innings can benefit our pitchers.

  27. stevemotivateir on March 21st, 2012 2:30 pm


    I think Furbush is more likely to be the long reliever, with Ramirez remaining a starter at Tacoma. Maybe he makes the trip to Japan though.

    About Seager out-hitting Ackley…. I’ll take that bet šŸ˜‰ I doubt Seager will see half the at-bats Ackley will.

  28. kbarnhouse on March 21st, 2012 3:19 pm

    Can anyone tell me what the starting rotation will be when they get back to America? Basically I’m wondering who will be the opening day starter in Seattle on April 13th.

  29. marc w on March 21st, 2012 3:24 pm

    They’ve got plenty of time to rejigger the rotation and let Felix get that start if they want to. He’ll certainly start one of the two games in Oakland. If he starts the Friday game, then it might be tough, but if they give him the Saturday game in Oakland, he may be set up to pitch in the M’s home opener.

    Again, everything’s up in the air thanks to the resumption of spring training in early April.

  30. stevemotivateir on March 21st, 2012 3:24 pm

    @ kbarnhouse

    Read the first line of this post. But for the home opener, I believe it would be Vargas’ turn in the rotation, if you simply counted out every 5 days. But like Marc said, it’s all pretty much in the air.

  31. Mariners35 on March 21st, 2012 3:48 pm

    April is just flippin weird: 4/1 and 4/2 on the road with the A’s, who they will have already played 2 games against… off day… 4 games away against the Rangers, 3 games at home, Monday off… 6 games at home, Monday off / travel… 3 against the Tigers, 3 against the Jays, then start of a Rays series.

    Good luck to Wedge and the rotation in getting any kind of a rhythm going. Who gets skipped on those 2 Mondays, I wonder…

  32. Mariners35 on March 21st, 2012 3:48 pm

    Wow, this ST game went south in a hurry.

  33. BackRub on March 21st, 2012 5:19 pm

    The wrinkle about Iwakuma building up his strength adds a legitimate reason for this decision, but Iwakuma could just be slotted in the 5th starter spot and have his turn skipped when possible. I don’t really see how he’s going to building arm strength given the inconsistent work of a long reliever. I certainly hope our starters don’t perform so poorly that Iwakuma pitches 4+ innings in long relief every week.

    I think Dave nailed the strategic negatives of this move. Beavan, given an optimistic projection, is nothing more than a 4 starter. More likely a fringe 5th starter in a deep pitching organization. Iwakuma has 3 starter upside. A non-crazy good case for him would be a line like: 6/2 k/bb ratio, mid-high 40% gb rates. That translates to a 3+ WAR pitcher. Of course, Iwakuma is likely to not be that good of pitcher but we already know this version of Beavan will never be that good. The M’s only have a year to evaluate Iwakuma(and consider an extension if he does well), and they really should use as much time as possible to evaluate him in a starter role.

  34. TherzAlwaysHope on March 21st, 2012 9:53 pm

    No comments on Felix only occasionally hitting 91 on the gun? Hopefully, he was pacing himself.

  35. kinickers77 on March 22nd, 2012 8:57 am

    Rumor surfacing that Mark Reynolds is on the block. Do you think the Ms should still go after him Dave?

  36. vertigoman on March 22nd, 2012 9:03 am

    Iwakuma obviously needs to build arm strength as Marc suggested. Either that or he’s not going to cut it throwing 88-90 with no break on his sinker. There was no Pfx in Goodyear so only the braintrust knew what he was throwing in his last outing.

    This just seems to be something that will remain in flux. He starts an exhibition in Japan and will be available out of the pen for the one’s that count. Maybe that’s the real reason because if he was slotted into Beavan’s role he’d have to stay in his rotation routine. Now he’ll get a chance to pitch twice in Japan.
    Also, I’m not really sure why Beavan has been labeled Mr. Limited upside. Fister proved the skill set can work effectively without being sexy.

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