M’s Finalize Roster

Dave · March 26, 2012 at 8:57 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

The Mariners just made three roster moves to shift from their 30 man roster down to the 25 man group that will start the season as active members on Wednesday. Because of the strange rules regarding the team’s roster beginning in Japan, they first announced 28 active members of the roster – all of whom are now eligible to be on the US opening day roster – and then deactivated three players from that roster to get down to 25 for the games in Japan.

To go from 30 down to 28, Carlos Peguero and Chance Ruffin were optioned to Tacoma, and Guillermo Quiroz was re-assigned to minor league camp. This actually brought them to 27, but the team also had to include Kevin Millwood on the 28 man roster, since he’s scheduled to open the US part of the season with the team. Munenori Kawasaki and Erasmo Ramirez also had their contracts purchased, but they were already on the travel roster, so this just gets them on the 40 man. Subtracting Peguero, Ruffin, and Quiroz while adding Millwood pushed them from 30 to 28.

To get down to 25, the team deactivated Millwood, Hector Noesi, and Hisashi Iwakuma for the two games in Japan. While all three will be added back to the roster before the team resumes play over here, their spots for the first two games will go to Alex Liddi, Steve Delebar, and Charlie Furbush. Those three will be eligible to play in the first two games, and then are all likely ticketed for Tacoma before the team opens play in Oakland next week.

From what I’ve gathered, it sounds like the team simply believes that Ramirez is capable of getting big league hitters out right now, and they’re going to break him in as a reliever. They’re not converting him to the bullpen like the team did with Brandon Morrow, but they believe he can get his feet wet as a middle reliever and still be able to move back into the rotation if an opportunity presents itself. This used to be a very normal way to break in rookie pitchers (Earl Weaver is a big proponent of the plan), so don’t freak out and think the team is wasting Ramirez in the pen. They just don’t think he has much left to learn in the minors, and believe that having a strike-thrower in the pen will be an asset.

It’s possible that they could still change their minds before next week and give that last bullpen spot to Furbush, but everything I’m hearing says that Ramirez has made the squad. Will be interesting to see how Wedge chooses to use him, since they’re already carrying Iwakuma as a long guy.


21 Responses to “M’s Finalize Roster”

  1. stevemotivateir on March 26th, 2012 9:05 pm

    Hard to argue these moves. Gotta feel good for Ramirez. He’s done about everything you could ask of him.

  2. Longgeorge1 on March 26th, 2012 9:15 pm

    I agree as long as Ramirez can get some work ( I think he will ) and Figgie is gone when Franklin G. gets back. We need the best 25 not the highest paid 25. The offense is starting to worry me and I certainly don’t have any good way to fix it.

  3. stevemotivateir on March 26th, 2012 9:35 pm

    ^You’re starting to worry about the offense -and the season hasn’t even started yet?! The Mariners had a good spring. Don’t let a couple of exhibition games cost you sleep.

  4. Westside guy on March 26th, 2012 9:41 pm

    I was worried Peguero was going to be on the 25-man roster. This move can be seen as yet more evidence that we shouldn’t read too much into the public pronouncements that come from Wedge. It’s certainly a trap I fall into all too readily.

  5. Jordan on March 26th, 2012 10:36 pm

    It is easy to see Beavan and Vargas or Millwood being replaced by Ramirez and Iwakuma by the deadline.

    I wish I could see the same with Figgins.

  6. marc w on March 26th, 2012 10:41 pm

    I think Larry Stone’s idea of starting out with Iwakuma on the DL is intriguing. He doesn’t seem to be able to sustain velocity at his normal 90-91 level, and given that they’ve already bumped him from the rotation…

  7. Dave on March 26th, 2012 11:09 pm

    The idea that Iwakuma is too hurt to pitch effectively but can still run a 10/2 K/BB ratio in spring training is kind of fun.

    The only reason anyone’s concerned about Iwakuma is that he’s given up a lot of hits in games that don’t count. With everything that we’ve learned about pitching in the last 10 years, it’s sad that people still believe that is a legitimate reason for concern.

  8. rth1986 on March 26th, 2012 11:14 pm

    I wish the Mariners would just cut Millwood. He’s obviously the token veteran and it was nice to have him with the young players in spring training, but Iwakuma or Ramirez are much more deserving of a rotation spot. Hope Millwood is gone by mid-May and Vargas by the trade deadline. We have too many young starting pitchers to audition this year.

  9. Dave on March 26th, 2012 11:23 pm

    You do realize that Millwood was pretty good last year, right? I’m not as down on Iwakuma as everyone else is, but how has he earned anything that Millwood has not?

    This seems to come up every time any semi-useful veteran gets a roster spot for a rebuilding team. You have to realize that cutting the veteran and giving the kid (or in this case, the rookie old guy) the job means that you have less depth than if you keep the veteran and use the kid/rookie as depth.

    Basically, the options are Millwood and Iwakuma and Ramirez or just Iwakuma and Ramirez. Why would you want to have less depth?

  10. rth1986 on March 26th, 2012 11:42 pm

    Millwood was effective last year, but he’s clearly at the end of his career. Iwakuma and Ramirez are deserving in the sense that they have a higher upside and have potential long-term value. They need an opportunity, and with Paxton/Hultzen looming on the horizon, that window of opportunity could be closing soon.

    As for veteran depth, I’m sure there will be plenty of options as spring training wraps up and cuts are made. I’d rather have a guy like Millwood waiting in Tacoma.

    Either way, the difference between Millwood and Ramirez and Iwakuma probably isn’t that great, but I’d still rather go with the unproven pitchers with this team.

  11. Glen on March 27th, 2012 8:57 am

    Iwakuma isn’t a spring chicken. I’m not sure where the belief he is a long-term solution is coming from.

  12. visbea on March 27th, 2012 9:34 am

    So, is there a place in Seattle that will be serving breakfast and showing the game at 3am?

  13. nwade on March 27th, 2012 9:38 am

    rth1986 – Iwakuma and Ramirez *are* getting a shot; even with Millwood. What’s the problem? We’re _NOT_ contending for a title, that 1 roster spot isn’t going to make a big difference, and we don’t have a proven performer who’s being shuffled off the stage so that Millwood can play. So again: What’s the problem?

    And hell, if you want to get rid of a veteran with questionable on-field contributions then gripe about Figgins! He’s taking up an extra roster spot that could be used (by a rookie or other position player) more often than Millwood’s once-every-five-days appearance!

  14. Kazinski on March 27th, 2012 11:34 am

    The only reason anyone’s concerned about Iwakuma is that he’s given up a lot of hits in games that don’t count. With everything that we’ve learned about pitching in the last 10 years, it’s sad that people still believe that is a legitimate reason for concern.

    Its a shame we didn’t know more about pitching in 1998 when Bobby Ayala almost got run out of town on a rail. Even though his ERA was 7.29, his FIP was 3.96. He just got unlucky with a .368 BABIP, 60 points above his career average, and an abysmal 53.3 LOB%.

    But it just illustrates the fact is that it is awfully hard to overlook results, for both managers and fans, when someone is going out there every other day like Ayala, or every 5th day like they were planning for Iwakuma. I guess we have to give Lou some late credit for sticking with Ayala while he was struggling because looking at the numbers in hindsight it was the right thing to do.

  15. Mariners35 on March 27th, 2012 12:49 pm

    I’m wondering if the 5th starter is tremendously important for the first month of the season anyway. I don’t know who they might skip and when, with all that travel and all those off days.

    All we can be certain about right now is that we see Felix and Vargas in Japan, and then Felix and Vargas again in Oakland on the 6th and 7th of April.

    But then it’s an off day, followed by a 4 game series in Arlington, and then a 3 game series at home. Off day Monday… 6 in a row at home… off day Monday… 3 in Detroit and 2 in Toronto.

    Do they really want the first 4 games of the year against the AL champs to be their 3rd, 4th and 5th starter, with only Felix at the end? Would they skip a 5th starter for the first couple weeks of the season, to go Felix-Vargas for Oakland, then Noesi-Millwood-Felix-Vargas for Texas? …but then what does that do for the home series? Lastly, not that marketing should drive these decisions by any means, but competition or rotation routine aside, doesn’t it make for a weird start to the season to not have the first King’s Court until the 4th home game of the season, halfway through April…?

    I suppose this is a long-winded way of me saying: Good luck with the rotation, Wedge. I don’t think there’s a ‘right answer’ here.

  16. SonOfZavaras on March 27th, 2012 1:05 pm

    Millwood was effective last year, but he’s clearly at the end of his career. Iwakuma and Ramirez are deserving in the sense that they have a higher upside and have potential long-term value. They need an opportunity, and with Paxton/Hultzen looming on the horizon, that window of opportunity could be closing soon.

    Kevin Millwood- or for that matter the likes of a much younger Jason Vargas- will not keep either extreme youth or higher-upside vets from being served when the time is right. The young’uns will get their window.

    Re: Bobby Ayala.

    I always thought he pitched better when the adrenaline of the game on the line was totally there…like when he only had a one-run lead to begin with, coming in.

    But give him a 4-to-6-run cushion, he was a disaster.

    That was my thought on him when he was ours. But I was way younger then, and could be completely wrong about that.

  17. Mariners101.com on March 27th, 2012 1:11 pm

    I was going to say something completely different until I read your post 35. Early in the season a 5th starter could help ease these guys into mid-season form with an extra day off between starts. Is that necessary, no.

    By hanging on to Millwood the M’s are saying he’s going to pitch though. How much? That depends on his performance. But you’re not going to let him eat that roster spot.

    I agree, I think this staff is full of questions. Maybe Iwakuma will thrive out of the pen, who knows. Nothing has counted so far but I can’t ignore how bad Iwakuma has been.

    I wonder what is a better performance indicator. A good K/BB ratio or opponents batting average?

  18. Paul B on March 27th, 2012 1:47 pm

    I don’t think anyone mentioned Luetge.

    I’d rank that as perhaps a mild surprise, at least early on in spring training. Although lately it has seemed like he had a spot on the team.

  19. MrZDevotee on March 27th, 2012 6:04 pm

    Except Luetge’s a Rule 5 pickup, so we have to give him back if he doesn’t make the roster… So it was really rather a matter of his performance didn’t ELIMINATE him from a spot. His only performance possibility really. And I wouldn’t be all that shocked if he was one of the last 3 gone when we get back.

  20. miscreant on March 27th, 2012 6:28 pm

    Millwood was pretty good last year? Come on man he started 9 games. Less than a 3rd of full year of pitching. Seeing that Millwood was pitching for the Rockies I’m guessing if he pitched 9 more games he would have gotten rocked…

    The last time Millwood was “pretty good” was 2005.

  21. stevemotivateir on March 27th, 2012 7:14 pm

    ^He was good last year. Nine games is significant, because he pitched in the minors most of the year, before signing with the Rockies in August. He finished the season well. And his last “pretty good” season prior to last year, was 2009. He pitched nearly 200 innings and had an ERA well under 4.

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