It isn't the case that teams never use soft-tossing pitchers in the bullpen...the Tigers, back in the mid 2000s were gluing bullpens together with crazy glue and silly putty, but some of that silly putty did well for a few years here and there. Remember the 85 mph change-up artist Todd Jones? Or the slider specialist Jamie Walker? Or the Braves' 88 mph slider master Chris Hammond? Not that I'm saying Luetge is going to succeed gay-round-teed...just saying it could happen...and you were sanguin about the Mariners keeping Camp in there as downside control...so why not Luetge as well?
=== Hisashi Iwakuma ===
Made the ballclub today, I would think.
First pitch out of the bullpen, Iwakuma popped the mitt REAL good, sounded from the stands like 90-and-plenty, y'know? His last pitch of inning 2, he humped up, zipped one in there with hair on it, his back foot came way off the ground .... looked like he had all kinds of length on his fastball.
As you know, the SSI take is simply that a 90 mph Iwakuma is a Seattle Mariner Iwakuma. He showed Dr. D all he needed to. We're sure that the corporate offices will be relieved to hear that...
Speaking of relieving, it stopped us short to hear the M's talking about Iwakuma out of the pen. Huh.
We grok that to mean ... what? If we didn't know better, we'd grok it to mean that Erasmo and Millwood are in there. As for the #5 slot, Hector Noesi has already been in the bigs as a swing man. You'd almost be inclined to suspect that it's Beavan, Erasmo and Millwood for now, with Noesi and Iwakuma as the #6-7 ... Furbush as the #8...
In any permutation, all these pitchers work fine as swing men. If Erasmo's in the rotation, I'm good, whatever the other 4-to-make-2 brings.
=== Kevin Millwood ===
It's a super young team, and Millwood seems to be the team captain, already. You don't begrudge any sports team its captain.
My question is --- > the transition. So it's June 1, and Paxton is raining bloody death on the PCL, and Millwood is greatly beloved in the clubhouse, and he's pitching competently, say 5-4 with a 99 ERA+. Now what?
=== Jesus Montero ===
Got fooled on a fastball, just fired the 24-inch pythons at the ball last second, and sent a ground ball three yards to the second baseman's left. It sizzled past the 2B so fast that he couldn't even dive. It hit me why some of these sluggers run .350 BABIP's...
Wedge reiterated today that Montero is headed toward a career as a starting catcher. He's going to run a string of 6-WAR seasons if he does... Wedge couldn't say more than "some day" because Miguel Olivo is, according to Jesus Montero himself, "the man" right now. Okay by me. I suspect Miguel Olivo of being worth 0.50 on the CERA end, and he is a PERFECT mentor for Montero.
=== Munenori Kawasaki ===
Just cracks me up out there. His single down the 3B line today: an Ichiro tennis-swing, serving the ball crisply past a close-in infielder.
There was actually another ex-ballplayer in front of us today, a Reds guy, and he couldn't stop going on about how he kept getting Ichiro confused with Kawasaki. Kawasaki does the same saddle-horse leg stretch, swings the same, rounds second base and accelerates into 3B like Ichiro.
My biggest problem with Kawasaki is, how they're going to decently see Ryan out of there. Love the guy. Kawasaki, that is.
=== Carlos Peguero ===
Doesn't matter whether you and I have him among Seattle's top 5 prospects. Zduriencik does, and that's the name of that tune.
Wedge has indicated that Peguero's made some progress, but not enough. That'll do for us too. He has shown the ability to cut down his swing a bit, keep it in the zone a bit longer, and scratch a few hits the other way. Today he took a nice easy swing and hit a high, hard long ball that would have been upper-deck at the old Kingdome, where Griffey used to hit his 50+ homers.
He's .268/.302/.561 and his TST strikeouts/walks would be, prorated, about 170 to 40, full season, to go with 50+ homers. That's no longer unacceptable for a young hitter like him, if your scouts (such as Eric Wedge) thought he was getting the strike zone covered. He's not walking much, but the K's are down. He starts walking if and when the ML pitching society begins taking him seriously. That part is one week away at any given time.
Let's suppose, just for a second, that they decided to keep Peguero on the 25-man - at least until Gutierrez was back. I dunno, can Casper Wells be optioned to AAA without losing him? If not, Peguero's slot probably costs the Mariners their 12th pitcher, right?
Which is fine, until April 19th or so, at which time Gutierrez is probably back - they can kick the can down the road that far, if they want. Peguero has had an impressive spring and the Mariners like him. He appears to be in the mix, with a lotto ticket long draw at a Ryan Howard career path.
I think he's shown enough OF skills to be able to survive out there.....It will be interesting to see where the M's peg him. If he's purely an OF, then you could imagine a Carp/Peguero COF duo. Not exactly two GG guys there. Do they see him as battleing with Carp? Is he purely a DH? If so, then you've got to find a position for Catricala and LIddi AND Seager...and Montero is a catcher.
A nice time to be hang on each and every M's move.
Kawasaki definitely reminded me of Ichiro when I saw him from the distance. It looked like he was actually trying to mimic Ichiro in some ways. I wonder if that is how he normally is or if he is just having a little fun out there.
He is patterning Ichiro the way NFL teams pattern the last Super Bowl champ .. In world chess there were a bunch of guys who copied not only Bobby Fischer's openings and style but also his physical mannerisms catchphrases etc. ... Right now Kobe is imitating Michael Jordan's mannerisms ... Kawasaki a pretty extreme case tho :) ... Our game as mariner fans since he came here on the minor-league deal to get with big bro ... Could also put Ichiro back in a joyful mood, giving autographs on the bench after every HR ....