The Cactus League Pushes Inexorably Onward: Mariners at Rockies

marc w · March 16, 2013 at 11:11 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Erasmo Ramirez vs. Someone, 1:05pm

The subtext in Greg Johns’ story here is pretty clear – the last rotation spot seems to be a contest now between Blake Beavan and today’s starter, Erasmo Ramirez. The two reclamation projects each pitched yesterday, and this weekend it’s the M’s youngsters turn to lay claim to the #5 spot. I hope I’m wrong about this. Erasmo Ramirez has clearly – clearly – earned the rotation spot based on his work down the stretch last year, and he’s done nothing this spring to indicate that his performance was a fluke.

Might he regress? Sure. His K rate exceeded his minor league rate (not his MLE, but his raw K rate in the minors) and his walk rate dropped. But so what? Regress it and you’ve still got a very very good starter. His home run rate could increase too, but it’d still be better than Beavan’s, and it would quite likely be better than Garland’s, even if Garland’s “back” from his shoulder woes. Erasmo’s quite good, and the M’s could use a good pitcher to slot in behind Felix and Iwakuma.

So the Dutch stomped all over the M’s yesterday as old marc w favorite Wlad Balentien hit a towering 3 run HR in the first to set the tone. Jon Garland got hit hard, but he did rack up a strangely high number of strikeouts. Franklin Gutierrez is still sidelined with a leg injury, though the plan is apparently for him to return to the line-up tomorrow.

The line-up for today’s 1:05pm start:
1: Saunders, CF
2: Seager, 3B
3: Morales, 1B
4: Morse, LF
5: Montero, DH
6: Peguero, RF
7: Sucre, C
8: Franklin, 2B
9: Ryan, SS
SP: Erasmo Ramirez


16 Responses to “The Cactus League Pushes Inexorably Onward: Mariners at Rockies”

  1. Westside guy on March 16th, 2013 12:01 pm

    Given past experience, we probably shouldn’t count on Guti returning until we see him take the field tomorrow. He’s been 1-2 days away from returning many times…

    I like Greg Johns but I hope his info, with regard to the rotation, is being driven by his own speculation and not by inside info coming from The club. Wedge is usually all about guys proving themselves, and Ramirez has done that in spades while Beaven has not.

  2. jordan on March 16th, 2013 12:38 pm

    If the rotation is anything besides Felix, Iwakuma, Saunders, Ramirez, Beavan than I loose any hope I had left in Wedge and this management. Garland and Bonderman have no future here. I’m not a big Beavan fan but he is just as good as those two or better and actually has a future here. Maurer can take his spot down the road this year if he continues to pitch well in Tacoma.

  3. ck on March 16th, 2013 1:02 pm

    I hope Ramirez is locked into the rotation, with Garland / Beaven competing for number five. Seeing Michael Saunders at lead-off in the line-up may portend for the season. He may be the only outfielder that can play everyday.

  4. MrZDevotee on March 16th, 2013 1:23 pm

    I, for one, hope the name Beavan is soon pronounced “M-a-u-r-e-r”.

    With so many young guys in the system, I think Wedge and Z both like elevating unexpected guys so kids get the message “you can make the squad if you prove yourself.”

    In that regard I think it’s wrong to leave Maurer out of the conversation for #5 starter. A four pitch pitcher, with control, and decent velocity is a nice asset at the bottom of the rotation.

    In a perfect world I think the competition is likely Ramirez, Beavan, Garland, and Maurer for both the #4 and #5 spots.

  5. Westside guy on March 16th, 2013 1:57 pm

    Peggy up with bases loaded…

  6. BaldEagle on March 16th, 2013 1:57 pm

    Just remember, Eric Wedge is the guy who is really big on veterans. He hung on to Miguel Olivo longer than anyone in their right mind should have. He will give Garland and even Bonderman every possible chance, and I believe he will favor Beavan over Erasmo because to his way of thinking Beavan’s done it for a (mostly) full year at the Major League level, whereas Erasmo hasn’t.

    Personally, I think we need to not have placeholders clogging the rotation. As has been said, neither Garland or Bonderman have (or should have) any business being on this team past spring training. The A’s won last year because they trusted their young pitchers. True, they may not have had any choice in the matter. But hanging on to a Garland or Bonderman while having Erasmo or Maurer languishing in AAA doesn’t make your club better.

    But given Wedge’s history, don’t be surprised if the rotation is Felix, Saunders, Iwakuma, Garland, Beavan.

  7. stevemotivateir on March 16th, 2013 3:27 pm

    Was that really three K’s in a row, on nine swinging strikes in a row? If so, props to Betancourt.

  8. RC on March 16th, 2013 4:22 pm

    Bonderman is hardly an old nag. He’s just 30. If his rehab is continuing to go well, he could be on the staff for more than just a one year fill in.

  9. henryv on March 16th, 2013 5:30 pm

    This roster is starting to worry me.
    Morse, Ibanez, Guti, Bay, Ryan, Shoppach, Saunders, Perez, Kenny, and Iwakuma.

    All players on the wrong side of 30, all players that have never been great players, and generally are going to see a ton of time with the M’s, probably. It just kind of has a 2004 feel to me. And I’m concerned that with Wedge’s geriophilia (the Latin meaning) this could go down hill really fast…

    But I think I’m having a pessimistic day, so maybe I’ll feel better about us running a 41 year old out there.

  10. stevemotivateir on March 16th, 2013 7:47 pm

    Henry, all the names you mentioned are on short-term contracts, most being one year. It could be a lot worse! Over 30 isn’t that alarming when there isn’t a ton of dough involved, though I’d be really disappointed if Morse failed to produce.

  11. evolvingcaveman on March 16th, 2013 8:27 pm

    To me, it has the feel of fairly motivated players in a contract year, rather then old guys with nothing left in the tank. I’m not feeling bad about the one year deals and it seems we finally have some potential depth and can keep the hot hitters in the lineup and the cold ones on the bench. Hopefully.

  12. Don Money on March 16th, 2013 11:38 pm

    The worst thing that could be done is to rush young players to the majors before they are ready. Necessary sometimes but still a bad long term move. As long as a player has options and can benefit from AAA experience, he shouldn’t bump an equally talented veteran. At worst, that vet can be traded during the season for some value and the prospect be brought up at that point. A lot of perennially good teams are made up of groups of players that tasted success together in the minors.

  13. maqman on March 17th, 2013 3:00 am

    All things being equal play the kids.

  14. djw on March 17th, 2013 7:45 am

    But hanging on to a Garland or Bonderman while having Erasmo or Maurer languishing in AAA doesn’t make your club better.

    I agree, if a retread option takes a spot away from Ramirez, that would be a big mistake.

    But I can’t really worry about Maurer. It’s silly to talk about someone languishing at AAA when they’ve never actually pitched at that level before. Skipping AAA, especially in light of the experience of ‘the big three’ at that level in 2012, isn’t something that should be done lightly, and if Garland (or Bonderman) look up to the placeholder role, there’s no harm in it.

    And as for Beavan, who cares? He’s not very good. And, of course, while Garland/Bonderman are unlikely to be part of the next good Mariners team, there’s a chance that if one of them pitches effectively and stays healthy for a few months, the prospect we get for him might be part of the next good M’s team. It’s a longshot, but probably not as long of a shot as Beavan rising above replacement level such that you’d notice.

  15. djw on March 17th, 2013 7:49 am

    it has the feel of fairly motivated players in a contract year

    The notion that players exceed normal projections during “contract years” is a myth that has been disproved repeatedly.

  16. Celadus on March 17th, 2013 10:32 am

    One wonders if Erasmo is having to overcome size bias. If a six nine guy with exactly the same stuff had put up his major league numbers, virtually no one would be talking about there being competition for his slot in the rotation.

    He could always pitch himself out of the rotation during the regular season, of course, but he richly deserves an extended look.

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