... Karns holding his SP3 spot, that is, if not also over Zduriencik's twin 400mm cannons. Free agency being done in the rotation, we fear. Other than as a shell game for SP2.
Commander Bat has us sailing along at 30 knots an hour, keeping us all alert to interesting possibilities at the fringes of the roster. This comment from the Chen thread deserves extra consideration:
Right now, if the Ms re-sign 'Kuma or sign Wei-Yin Chen as the #2, Karns is the #5 guy. The question is whether the Ms sign another experienced starter, as most pundits predict, or they look for another Montgomery - a guy with no track record that has options for #5B/6. Given that Walker will probably still be on a pitch count limit and Paxton limited in total innings (my guess is they won't go beyond 160), my analytical side says they'll sign a Fister or even both Chen and 'Kuma, and use the Tacoma Shuttle for Paxton, Walker, and Karns, with Nuno (and maybe Zych) stretched out in case. That's the contender route.
My expectation now, though, is that we will see them trade for another guy that has had cups of coffee, but has options left. I've been looking at who that might be, but I don't have a good feel for who is out there that's gettable unless they're willing to give up AlexJ, O'Neill or Diaz. I don't think Karns or Bass will get flipped - it doesn't seem to be Dipoto's style to flip a guy he's praised as an object of a trade. In that regard, I think Powell is safe, since Dipoto has specifically talked about his place in the future, while Sardinas has been discussed as depth and nothing more - he's a possible flip.
To put Karns on a par with Taijuan and K-Pax is saying a whale of a lot. So Bat is by no means selling Karns shorter than the average bear sells him.
Where Dr. D would add to this roundtable, though ... it's already remarkable enough when any team trades 2 players off its 25-man roster at the same time. When you trade 2 players out of your starting 8 position players, that's even more so. JeDi coughed up Brad Miller and Logan Morrison for Karns+ and then at the press release said "he goes immediately into our starting rotation." From a political standpoint we would read this to mean that it's Karns' job to lose over James Paxton, and possibly over Taijuan Walker.
And especially we would read this as, It is Karns' job to lose over any free agent who is hoping for it :- )
The really interesting question is whether DiPoto would consider a Big Three of Felix, Iwakuma and Chen/other. I hadn't even considered this possibility. Perhaps it was DiPoto's reply at the season-tix Q&A. Some wag asked him, "Don't you need major free agent help?" and he replied:
"1. That's how you blow yourself to smithereens, Arte-style.
2. I (Jerry DiPoto) am really, REALLY good at finding Tyler Skaggses for the rotation."
Since DiPoto sort of "free-associated" number 2 with a random question about FA's, Dr. D had been "canceling the fractions" and assuming that DiPoto really is going after the bullpen.
But man oh, man, would Dr. D be surprised and pleased to see 'Kuma and Chen behind Felix. Even from an aesthetic point of view! Can you picture it, two surgeon-precise Pacific Rim pitchers, one right and one left, vivisecting the Anaheim Angels?
Would love to hear any SSI Think Tanker who would be less surprised than me... if not, the good news was that "bullpen" part. Even more interestingly, Bat opines that:
They other key to this is the BP. Dipoto seems to like a classic BP - a closer, four setup guys, a LOOGY, and a long guy/swing man.
If Oh is signed as the closer, that gives CSmith, Benoit, Zych, and JRamirez as setup guys currently, Furbush as the LOOGY, and Bass and Nuno are available as the long guy. ... [Ramirez] is gone as soon as they can ink Lowe.
Zych may have the stuff to start (Wilhelmsen all over again). If they can find another dominant LH stud (I want Sipp) to both insure against Furbush not being fully ready, and to provide balance, I wouldn't be surprised at either Zych or Nuno, or both, going to Tacoma to start, as hedges for the limits on Walker and Paxton - See more at: http://seattlesportsinsider.com/comment/110082#comment-110082
All of which would please but NOT surprise Dr. D. A shorter bullpen and a longer bench? Did somebody ax, "What would Dr. D do?" You can certainly write that one in black ink.
Was this typically the case in Anaheim, that DiPoto was willing to go with 7-man bullpens?