Karns' Agent v Paxton's, Arguing over the SP Money
The "5 Guys" brand is very bankable in Seattle these days


jemanji:  Did you see Karns out there Sunday!  You thought he was going to be a talented young club-controls #3, huh.

babakid29:  You don't think so?

jemanji:  No, I think he's going to be an Opening Day starter.  Like John Lackey.  The 2005-07 version, who was one of the five best starters in the league.

babvakid29:  He does resemble Lackey, doesn't he?  Same kind of tall-wrestler physique, and similar his motion.  The way he gets his large muscles into the throw, kinda gangly on the backstroke and then comes down the centerline like oiled glass.  Lackey did have a slider, though.  We're talking four pitches, not three.

jemanji:  No need to quibble.  When you're using a spike curveball as your bread-and-butter, and your third pitch is better than most rookies' second pitch, you're cut from the Mussina/Lackey leather.  Kid's got pretty good control of the fastball and it's got higher octane than people realize.  Brooks had him at 93.7 MPH average and the Reds were pretty late even on 1-0, 2-1.

babakid29:  I could see the Lackey comparison.  Funny thing, it took Lackey two or three years to put it together.  Karns looks together.  

Let's not make him out to be an All-Star, though.  He got dinged for several runs Sunday.  And by "dinged" we mean he gave up dingers.  How overwhelming can he be.

jemanji:  He centered three or four fastballs and the Reds happened to not miss them.  In Karns' case that actually was a spring-training thing.  But I'll grant you, Karns is always around the plate and he gives up some homers.  Then again John Lackey had homeritis his first couple years.  Razor-sharp command tends to come later.  

'nother thing.  One-size-fits-all cliches don't fit every size.  But they do fit most sizes.  They are probably right that Karns needs to "keep the ball down."  For him, that slogan may be okay.

Question for you, though.  How come Paxton was only 90 MPH on Saturday?

babakid29:  He was fine.  And he wasn't 90.  Brooks had him at 91.7 average -- but it had the other pitchers at 88.  Weird gun that day.  Also, you could see the pop of the mitt.  Also also, it's March and he's building up.  Also also also, he was throwing nothing but dead red and the Dodgers were late on the ball.  And (whew, glad he didn't do that again) the postgame interview was fine, the pitch count was fine, etc.

jemanji:  You were fine with that outing?

babakid29:  Oh yeah.  He was just getting in his work, throwing all fastballs, and it was still 4.0 with no earnies and no walks.  It's kind of weird with Paxton.  With his angles, he can just pump gas and if he's throwing strike one, he's pretty safe.  He's not going to get splattered if he makes them hit their way on, even if it's just a get-it-over fastball.

jemanji:  What's this thing about Stottlemyre having to stay all over him to throw his curve ball?

babakid29:  I loooove eet.  :- )  It's almost like we got the Angels org coaching the Mariners now.  Night and day, man.  They even vibe different on TV.

Paxton does need to buy in to his own curve ball.  This last game he threw 38 pitches, which were about 36-1-1 on pitch mix, and I was sitting there like you, kind of annoyed, yeah.  Then on pitch #39 he reminded everybody why he could become the best pitcher in the league.  He had two strikes on some right hand Dodger or other, reared back, cracked off a curve ... that dude couldn't have moved a muscle if Rooster Cogburn had stabbed him in the haunches with a pocketknife.

Regular season, he throws that pitch 2 times by the end of the second inning?  The rest of the game everybody's way late on the fastball.  Well, way latER.

jemanji:  You buy this thing Valle keeps harping on, Paxton needing his changeup?


I find your disrespect disTURBing
I find your disrespect disTURBing


babakid29:  Siiiiggggggggghh.  Course not.  The answer to this question is the same as it was last year, and the year before, and every year since the turn of the century.  The turn of the 20th century, not the 21st.  Many, many dominant young lefties kicked keister and took names with two pitches, including recently.  Sale, Sabathia, Kershaw, and I am so flippin' bored with this conversation every year.

jemanji:  The M's are making noises like Paxton will "be in the rotation if he's on this team at all."  Paxton is just not as polished as my guy.  He needs a LOTTTTTAA work.

babakid29:  He does, absolutely.  Whereas, your guy Nathan is pretty close to a finished product.  But!  That's all the more reason to start K-Pax.  Karns can really help us in the 'pen.  You know we need it.

jemanji:  ... 

babakid29:  Which makes it all as easy as Tuesday mornin' ... a Tuesday morning with a cup of coffee and the right M's blog, of course.  Your bullpen is Cishek, Benoit, Zych, Karns, and pick one.  Nuno and Montgomery from the left side.  The "baker's dozen" of DiPoto righties go to Tacoma, if they want to, or get their release if they want that.  With Tony Zych and Nathan Karns as your "layered" middle men you aren't going to need those retreads.  Not nearly as much as you thought you would.

jemanji:  If my guy stays on a major-league salary, I could live with that.  Plus Karns could stay major-league sharp in a major league bullpen.  He gets to pitch the adrenaline and keep his fingers out of the doggie's mouth.  Then the second that Paxton or Iwakuma lose a big toe in a cab door tragedy, Karns is ready to take over the AL West.  Hey, Houston does it.  No reason Jerry DiPoto can't.

babvakid29:  You like Karns' makeup to swing between roles?

jemanji:  I liked my guy on TV the other day.  He was asked what he likes to throw and he beamed.  "I enjoy all my pitches very much."  He basked.  Then "But my favorite is my spike curveball.  Here, I'll show you how I hold it..."

Tell ya, when a mechanic comes out to fix your car, it's a good sign when he wants to chat you up about all his favorite wrenches.

babakid29:  No doubt.  I wish my man K-Pax would say that about his curve some time.  He did say something about maybe trying a high fastball.  That's practically the same thing.

jemanji:  Lefties are flaky.  Nate Karns isn't.

babakid29:  Didn't hurt Randy Johnson.  You ever see him pitch?

jemanji:  I'll take Lackey.  I'm the kind of guy who likes a 3-iron off the tee.

babakid29:  See you at the ballpark.


tjm's picture

. . . Miley. Better potential and, more to the current point, better results. Of course, Elias was probably better than Miley, too. Look where that got him. And Smith was better than any of the bullpen guys they brought in except for Benoit. As much as I hated the Texas trade, I hated this one more. Time for Dipoto to swallow his pride and put Miley in the pen as the long man, which is where guys like him used to spend their whole careers.


Only on a 70's LA staff did Wade Miley take the 6th inning of blowouts 

;- )

No, I'm witchoo TJM.  But that's a nice development, if you deal for a Miley and it turns out he can't make yer travelin' squad.  If I could trade for Miguel Cabrera and then work it so he had to sit on the bench, that'd be okay too.


Nah - Miley's real value is that he can clock in ~200 average innings as a starter. I can't see his stuff playing up in the bullpen, so that would be 65-70 average innings. Miley brings stability to the rotation and that is valuable. Lest we forget, last year's MLB IP totals: Felix = 201.2; Miley = 193.2; Walker = 169;  Karns = 147; Iwakuma = 129.2; Paxton = 67.

Paxton hasn't cracked 100 innings since 2013. As much as I like the guy, he's the one I would put in the pen if they are all healthy. Other than spending time on the DL, spending time in the bullpen is probably the only way he's pitching the last two months of the 2016 season. 


Griz and I agree on just about everything except national energy policy.  Oh, and the University of Idaho is way cooler than the University of Montana.  Other than that, he can proxy vote my Mariners fan decision making shares any time.  Paxton is good for 70 innings at random times until such a time as he proves otherwise.  This fifth starter versus swingman talk is, like Doc says, more important to baseball agents at arbitration hearings than it is to our point of view.  We will get as much of Paxton's incendiary filth as he can produce.  But don't write his position in ink until he forces the issue. 

Also, the bullpen is short on heat and lefties.  I have a guy in mind. 


That would be swallowing your pride, wouldn't it.  Not that I'm opposed, btw.  I said a bit ago that Miley was likely our 6th best starter.  But.....he isn't  a bad starter to pencil in.  As the next guy up in case of collapse or injury, he would be a great insurance package.


typical year, you get three backup starters making 10+ starts each.  Last year, Nuno 10 Montgomery 16 Paxton 13 behind Felix-Kuma-Taijuan-Elias-Happ.

I'm watching Grizzly's prediction that one of the first 5 will go down in SPRING.  Heh.

jokestar's picture

I'm pretty sure that Miley is already slated to be third in the rotation this year. He has a solid history of pitching a decent 190-200 innings a year for the last 4 years. Karns, Paxton and Walker have a ways to go to show that they, too, can pitch that many innings. 


Don't mean it as a compliment.  I mean, "that's how the top 30 shot-callers in fact look at the situation."


Have we ever entered a season with an argument about which of two very good pitchers should be last the rotation?  I'll take this.

tjm's picture

. . . a very good pitcher. He's been slightly less than medicore. If KPax is going to get hurt, fine, pitch him until he is, then replace him. 

I simply see no reason to keep you most talented players off the field when they are healthy. He's healthy now. Play him.


Interesting little divergence of opinion Terry.  You see him a shade below average; I see him a shade above.  That's what makes bleacher talk lively.

He's got 10.0 WAR the last four seasons.  A few guys don't :- ) 

But I think I just have an inkling for guys who can bring Ray Miller style pitches every night.  Then again, you grew up watching Andy Messersmith and I grew up watching Glenn Abbott.


James has Miley as the #46 ranked SP in baseball, among 30 teams, making him nominally a #2 starter.  Not trying to differ with TJM who's probably right about him being a ham-and-egger.  But while we're chatting.

Miley ranks just above Tanaka and Kazmir, just below Iwakuma and Garrett Richards.  Admittedly, Dan Haren still ranks above him.

Since Miley's WAR 2012-15 is his pride and joy ... he's #37 over that time frame.  Comparable to Chen, Iwakuma, Fister, Gallardo, Buehrle ... in large part because he's #15 in the big leagues for IP over the last four years.

Very high REL score.  Not so much on the no-hitter threat.

tjm's picture

. . . almost all of his value lies in staying on the field. This is not nothing, but it is less than what other guys can do if healthy. That doesn't mean he should start when they ARE healthy. Play him when they invariably get hurt.

And for the record, Doc, I grew up a Yankee fan which meant I watched  guys like Ralph Terry, who kinda reminds me of a right-handed Miley. The coaching staff was constantly on him to stop throwing so many different kinds of pitches. At one point he was thowing seven different ones.


Way to start my day by crushing my dreams bro'.

:- ) Ralph Terry ... yeah that kind isn't around any more, the guys who would make up pitches on the mound.  Neither are offensive guards who kick field goals.



Have you had a chance to see Nate Karns much yet TJM?  Remind you of the early John Lackey at all?

tjm's picture

. . . and they look similar on the mound, but they pitch quite a bit differently. Lackey throws a lot of sliders and curves. And it looks like Karns is basically a two-pitch guy - fastball-curve. And everything is hard, hard, hard. Even early in his career, Lackey never threw that hard. If he had, I'd hate him even more than I do now!


Don't know why I sort of assumed the Angels might be your #2 team.  :- )

Adding to that a bit ... Lackey's 25% curves and 15% sliders (and some straight changeups into the bargain) were actually what reminded me of Karns.  Who is a rare curveball-first guy.  Not quite as many though.

Watch for Karns' changeup.  It's fairly legit and he's going to it.  He doesn't change speeds quite to the same degree, agreed.  Pretty unusual dollop of it though.  Not at all afraid to 'pitch backwards' in Mussina style.


Trying to chose who should go into the pen from Miley, Paxton and Karns is a no win question.

All three act and pitch like starters.

Paxton does not get warm until the third inning, as shown by how many times he gets stronger as the game goes on and how often he he throwing 96+ late in games.

If you are gonna get Miley, you better get him early or he gets in your head.

Karns, while not as much history, also has shown that you have to get him early. Karns definitely gets into a rhythym when he is on.

Thus, I think loser goes to Tacoma.

Dark Horse for pen - Sampson. He could be the next Maurer. 

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