And Here Come the Changes
Not exactly sure why the M’s decided to make some of these obvious changes after tonight’s game instead of doing it this afternoon, but the roster shakeup that we talked about yesterday is here. According to Ryan Divish, the moves are as follows, though they won’t be announced until tomorrow.
Mike Carp (DL)
Stephen Pryor (DL)
Alex Liddi (Tacoma)
Blake Beavan (Tacoma)
Franklin Gutierrez (activated from DL)
Erasmo Ramirez (called up from Tacoma)
Obviously, with four guys going away and only two guys listed on the arrival side, there will be two other players joining the roster as well. Steve Delabar is the obvious fit to replace Pryor, since he was the one who lost his spot in the bullpen when they called Pryor up, and it’d be a minor shock if the guy coming up to replace Liddi wasn’t Casper Wells, for all the reasons we talked about yesterday. An OF rotation of Saunders/Gutierrez/Wells/Ichiro gives the team two left-handed and two right-handed outfielders, each of whom have the ability to play any of the OF positions if need be. Guti probably needs to be a part time player until he shows that he’s healthy and has his strength back, so Saunders will likely split time between center and left, with Wells picking up at-bats when Guti sits. It’s the best OF alignment the organization can run out there.
Figgins will move into the backup 3B/pinch runner role, so you’re likely going to see even less of him than you have lately, since he won’t be needed in the outfield anymore. He’ll probably play about as often as Iwakuma pitched in April. Yes, he’s still here, but more in theory than in practice.
On the pitching side, it’s pretty much straight forward – Ramirez replaces Beavan in the rotation, while Delabar replaces Pryor in the bullpen. If Delabar can stop giving up home runs, the ‘pen won’t take a hit, and Ramirez should improve the rotation simply by not being Blake Beavan. All around, these moves are pretty much a win across the board, and the team will be better tomorrow than they were today.
The next test will come in a month or so when Mike Carp’s 20 day “rehab assignment” comes to an end. Odds are his shoulder is no big deal, and the team is just using this to get around the fact that he’s out of options in order to give him a few weeks of regular playing time to see if he can get his bat straightened out. If he goes down to Tacoma and mashes, then they’ll have to figure out where he fits in the second half of the year. For now, though, this buys them some time to see whether Gutierrez can stay healthy and in the line-up, and if so, they can adjust Carp’s role accordingly.