DISCLAIMERS, CAVEATS AND QUID PRO QUO's, Dept.
After Opening Day, the over/under on first pitching move is what. April 8? And if Gamel goes down, he'll be up very shortly. Most teams have 28-man rosters; this one will have about a 32-man roster.
For the players being First Pick is very important. For them, "breaking camp with the big club" is almost like a red carpet movie open, glitz and glam and hors d'oeuvres and autographs. Wait...
For you and me, we'd just as soon the Mariners come out of the gate quickly against Houston and Texas and co. But, in the big picture, that first bus ride isn't going to be something we remember in June. Got to admit we'd rather be 3-1 after Houston than 0-4. Which leads us to:
SECOND LEFTY: KEIKHEFER over Pazos
What's next on bullpen spelling degree of difficulty? A U of Hawaii nose tackle?
Dr. D has a good impression of 2nd Scrabble. (Yes, we spelled Kiekhefer wrong in the title. As y'know, we live to ... bait LrKrBoi29.) IFF, math majors if and only if, he is used as a LOOGY. Which Scott Servais expressly said he was:
"He has a track record of getting the lefties out," Servais said. "Not so much a length guy because the righties are not his strength. He knows that. He knows who he is.
"He is a pitch-maker, and he throws strikes with the breaking ball as well as the fastball. There’s a reason we’ve kept him in camp. We like what we see."
As you know, Truth consists of what Scott Servais and the Mainframe agree on. One hitter left on left, Kierkegaard is perfectly fine with us on Opening Day to protect a lead.
Also agree with the Skip that James Pazos "has a bright future." Operative word being "future." And don't listen when people write stats about pitchers and age-arcs and projections based off age. Pitchers add a pitch, change an arm slot, stuff like that, if you hadn't noticed. Odd that Mariners fans wouldn't have noticed lefties who figure things out late.
If the M's take Pazos, that's a plus too, given who is calling shots these days. It would be a Mariners statement that Pazos has made adjustments satisfactory to their "don't walk guys" patronage. Or, it's a statement that they don't want to cut any of those two guys on the 40-man that you don't know the names of.
And furthermore, relievers can walk 4 guys if they strike out 11.
Importantly, Servais used Zip for one lefty hitter against the Reds. (check me on that.) AWESOME. The higher Zip's percentage of lefty matchups, the happier Dr. D will be. SUDDEN THOUGHT WHAT IF THAT'S WHY THE 12TH MAN IN THE BULLPEN
Oh yeah. Here is a video of Kiekhefer's grace and class in a 1-run game.
No, you'll like this one better. He really throws like this, from what we've seen. Not bad, eh. STOP AND WATCH THE VIDEO
Kiekhefer has pitched to 46 MLB left hand batters and has allowed a 586 OPS with a 12:3 control ratio. 46 is not oodles but it is way, way different than 0. Is 0 even a number, Matt? Maybe it's like the square root of -1, a symbol that makes formulas work, rather than an amount. There is a parable in there somewhere about minor league RP's who have to pitch on Opening Day.
Right now he is Dr D's pick of the litter as a specialty LOOGY. If you must have a huge flotilla of relievers, that is.
TWELFTH RIGHTY RELIEVER: COULD BE MOE IS RIGHT ABOUT A TRADE
Diaz, Altavilla, Vincent, Scribner. And Casey Fien is in there. All good pitchers behind Diaz, but ... the more you look at it, which one do you want in the 8th inning on Opening Day against Houston?
As far as Fien rising to the "top," the top being literally the 11th pitcher on the ballclub. I don't "get" him yet but also have nothing against him ... yet. Who would be the last guy? Servais said Zych has "run out of time" for his ramp-up routine.
Divish had a good line on Twitter. Salk: But still. Who's the 8th arm? Divish: "Who GM's the Mariners again?" HEH
OUTFIELD: DR D = IDIOT
We were in the drivethru and I asked Cindy, befuddled, "Do YOU have any idea why they go with more and more and more relievers?" She shrugged, "Sounds like they don't trust any of them. Do you want a McDouble in your 2 for $2.50."
Joking. It could also have something to do with 15 maxx-maxx effort pitches like benching 450 pounds. Here's the thing on Heredia, hereafter referred to as The Presumed 4th Outfielder. I totally spaced out that they cut 'Bach. So they can have both a 12th righty out of the bullpen AND they can have a 4th outfielder. Had gotten into vaporlock about 2 slots for 1B.
IMPORTANT NOTICE did you catch JeDi's statement that Danny Valencia was his #1 out of 8 targets this winter? Ahead of Smyly, ahead of everybody.
So they can use Jar-Rod as a late-game weapon off the bench, down 2-1. And they can sub him in when Boomstick starts a game, when up 2-1. And they can pinch-hit Motter and/or Heredia.
Blowers said the Gamel/Heredia decision would probably be made while standing in line for the bus to the airplane north. Well, that's splicing two of his comments.
There's also a grassroots movement on SSI for Freeman, right? Keep it peaceful. We prosecute violent protesting here. Well, unless I personally see the need for it, of course. SSI, your bile-free debate safe zone.
DREW SMYLY: WE THROTTLE BACK A BIT
Woulda been nice to see Cliff Lee in the followup start. 'twas not to be. There's no F/X data but there is 3 BB, 1 K, 3 HR and Smyly's charming post-game sentiment "I couldn't throw the ball in the same place twice."
(1) Aces also have off days, so. (2) Drew Smyly the Former is very, very cool by Dr. D. (3) Maybe he's chipping at the ice, ready to put up sensational starts here and there, which will become more frequent. (4) Word is still that Smyly's velo is up.
But in fairness, if Smyly had suddenly become Cliff Lee, you'd have expected a few Reds to be crisped in the tail of that WBC comet.
He's very cool. Just in terms of Fair and Balanced: here's a situation where you really hit that "Spring Stats Don't Matter" aspirin hard. Good on him, and the M's are essentially using him as TWO bench players. But Dr. D's expectations are nice and low.
Love the kid. Here's to a hair flip in the Houston series.