Maurer Likely In, Erasmo Out, and M’s Scout Capuano
Brandon Maurer had another good day today, and the presumption now is that he’s essentially locked himself into one of the two open rotation jobs to start the season. The Mariners go to Salt Lake City on Saturday to play an exhibition game, and Maurer is currently on track to start that exhibition, a pretty clear sign that he’s a strong favorite for the Opening Day roster.
And, while they haven’t officially declared him out of the running, you can basically cross Erasmo Ramirez’s name off the list. While the Mariners didn’t say anything about it previously, the story now is that Ramirez had some soreness after his six inning start a few weeks ago and they had to back off his workload because of it. Due to the missed time, they don’t feel he’ll be ready to start the season in the rotation, so he’ll concentrate on building up his arm strength to start the season, likely in Tacoma. But, as we saw last year, the team is willing to carry a guy as a long reliever on the big league roster who is “building up arm strength”, so maybe Ramirez breaks camp as The Guy Who Never Pitches. Someone needs to keep Jeff Gray’s memory alive.
And in related news, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports that the M’s were one of four teams scouting Chris Capuano today. This isn’t the first we’ve heard of the team’s interest in Capuano, and it’s widely known that he’s available given LA’s rotation surplus. I’ve been a Capuano fan for a while, lobbying the M’s to sign him several times over the last few years, and he’s still an average-ish Major League starter on a team that could use more average-ish MLB starters. That said, he’s also a soft-tossing lefty with home run problems, and Safeco isn’t going to be as kind to those guys as it used to be. Depending on what the price is, acquiring him might be a real improvement, but at this point in his career, I don’t know that I’d want to give up a valuable prospect for him. Signing him as a buy low free agent was one thing; paying retail for a “proven veteran” is another.
But, hey, not Beavan is an improvement over Beavan, so at least it seems like they might be willing to break camp with someone else in the last spot in the rotation.