Cactus League Game 7, Mariners at Angels – Logan Gilbert’s Turn

marc w · March 7, 2021 at 11:44 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Logan Gilbert vs. Jamie Barria, 12:10pm

The M’s won’t have to further enrage Jarred Kelenic by sending him down to the minors. A strained adductor muscle in his knee will sideline the OF phenom, realistically ending any chance he had of making the team. It’s a tough blow for Kelenic, and for the M’s chances to run out their best line-up, but it saves the M’s a tough decision and….it is so, so gross to write about baseball with this service time nonsense as the frame. They’ve essentially made us do so; the service time issue/scandal is included in the article about the injury. It’s unavoidable. It’s just a terrible way to think about the game and the M’s young prospects. I cannot wait for a future CBA that enables us to talk about baseball players as players, and not as financial assets/liabilities. I know – we don’t have to fall into it in most cases, but for the past year, and certainly since Kevin Mather’s infamous breakfast, it is completely inescapable when talking about Kelenic.

We’ll see if it becomes more of an issue with today’s starter, Logan Gilbert. The M’s have already committed to a six-man rotation, and with Marco Gonzales, Chris Flexen, Justus Sheffield, James Paxton and Yusei Kikuchi pretty much locking down five spots, you’ve got a number of pitchers – Justin Dunn, Nick Margevicius, Ljay Newsome, and Gilbert – vying for the sixth. Dunn’s probably the favorite, given his starting experience in 2020 and stuff advantage over Newsome. But Dunn’s peripherals were atrocious, even though his ERA looked ok. Margevicius has MLB starting experience too, but his left-handedness may work against him given that four of the five locks for the rotation are southpaws.

All of this gives Gilbert a sliver of a chance to seize the opportunity and take the sixth starter job. His upside handily outpaces his competitors, and I’m keen to see how it plays against what looks like a regular season Angels line-up (watch out for that Trout fellow, Logan). But again, what exactly is Gilbert competing for? Would the M’s who’ve been so public about messing with Kelenic’s service time or buying out Evan White’s (for a deep discount) *really* allow Gilbert to win a job on the opening day roster? Is the service time issue lessened for notoriously volatile pitchers? Would they do it to show that they’re turning the page from the bad old days of the Mather-led M’s? Or is it a joke to think that starting the season with their best six pitchers in the rotation is even on anyone’s mind?

Jamie Barria is a long-time Angel who came up through the system and posted a great 2018 rookie season before absolutely cratering in 2019. Despite the Angels struggles in the rotation in 2020, Barria bounced back when given another opportunity essentially out of desperation. Barria throws a low-90s fastball, in both a four-seam and two-seam form. Both have some sink. His best pitch, and the pitch he throws most often, is a slider at 84. He’s got a change as well, though he doesn’t throw it much.

1: Haggerty, 2B
2: Torrens, C
3: Lewis, CF
4: France, 3B
5: Marmolejos, 1B
6: Raleigh, DH
7: Fraley, RF
8: Walton, SS
9: Bishop, LF
SP: Gilbert

Will Vest may get another chance to pitch today after having a fairly disastrous first appearance as a Mariner. Drew Steckenrider, Paul Sewald, and Aaron Fletcher are also among the probable relievers.


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