What the MARINERS will do, we don't know. As we type this, they've got "TBA" in Elias' / Iwakuma's spot next Tuesday. That's with Mike Montgomery being in James Paxton's spot, and the M's just having said "James is going to be out awhile."
What the Tacoma News Tribune and its president* of the BBWA -- that's not a swipe -- sees as likely can be found here. A 25-year beat writer's take on an org's preferences is a camera angle that we value at SSI. On Monday, before Iwakuma's fine rehab start, Dutton gave the options as ... my words now ...
- Powerflush Montgomery or Elias
- Put J.A. Happ in the bullpen (?!)
- Go to 6 men
- Keep a foot on the Iwakuma duck to keep it from bobbing up to surface
A few ideas about each of these:
HISHASHI IWAKUMA should be a given. It is worth a radio show as to why he is not a given, why the Mariners are giving this any thought. Over the two years 2013-14 he had the #8 ERA and #6 xFIP in the American League. His ERA and xFIP were almost exactly Max Scherzer's:
|SP, 2013 and 2014 seasons
Stats aren't everything, but, a better xFIP than Max Scherzer? Iwakuma had a few things to iron out in early 2015, but He. Is. Your. Number. Two.
POWERFLUSH ROENIS ELIAS: this is a young man who seems to hang his head when he succeeds in the big leagues and then they tell him to go home. Tommy Lasorda would take more seriously the idea of allowing him to stay in the bullpen. So would Earl Weaver. That slider-throwing LOOGY, not talking Beimel but the other guy, is nice and all. But the M's are just too precious about their #7-8 relievers for my tastes. Elias could do as well as Joe Beimel, we're guessing.
Let's say Mike Montgomery gets hit even two starts in a row. As Felix could. Then he's gone, right? This is all way too 1970's Yankees for Dr. D. Let's see how this starter handles the White Sox, and if he doesn't impress we'll try somebody else and hope HE's Jeff Fassero.
That's what they're gonna do, we're sure, flush Elias. Sure wish they'd let him trade starts with Montgomery. But, if you alternated those two in the #5 start each week, it might complicate your use of the #7 reliever and ... can't have that. :- )
Bonus points if you remember that it was Tony LaRussa who thought pitching would go better with 9 pitchers trading 3-3-3 innings. Montgomery and Elias could split games between them. Your relievers would get a day off. We know, we know. Hasn't been done much, so can't be done.
HAPP IN THE BULLPEN: the thought had never occurred.
My first reaction is that he reminds you of Dan Plesac as a closer. (This version of Happ, the one we've seen since the last All-Star break.) Consistent 93 MPH, left side, very well located, exudes self-confidence. No walks.
I'd be thrilled to see Happ in a late-inning role. Used to love watching Plesac.
SIX MAN ROTATION, keeping Felix every 5th day of course: They just discussed this in the Hey Bills. As a general rule I would prefer to see 4 before I'd like to see 6 ... for the same reason I would prefer to see 1 starter rather than 13 starters. Earl's Ninth Law: a fifth starter takes away games from four guys WHO ARE BETTER THAN HIM. Earl used to occasionally go with THREE starting pitchers.
Still, 6 men would at least be something fresh, and in this case we've got the 1970's Dodgers situations. No absolutes, brah. If you really do got six of 'em, hokay.
The key thing here is, you got six guys, but after Felix they're all eligible to be named your #5 starter. You have Felix, Iwakuma and then four more guys you can't pick from. It is for precisely this reason that the 2015 Mariners loom as an exception to Dr. D's No Six-ers Shtick rule. (And Iwakuma might benefit from lighter innings.)
DAVID ROLLINS was pointed out by Biology Rick. You take a look and ... what, he's in the 'pen? Seven games pitched, seven lockouts. If it were bowling he'd be five strikes short of a perfecto. You may be forced to bring him up and let him LOOGY, but Vidal Nuno is also a pretty cool LOOGY. Not like Rollins would be a Left Hand One Out Guy, but Nuno actually is that 1-batter man. He can hit the outside black with that slider.
We got two questions for yer. (1) How long till the M's have to get Rollins onto the roster, due to Rule 5? and (2) how come nobody ever answers questions posed in the articles? ;- )
And (3) how come we're always talking about the way a 36-43 ballclub has way too many good players?