Nathan on the M's Rotation
commenters, bring it. Like Paxton.



1.  It IS as easy as one line.  

The threads read better with a 1:2, 1:3 ratio of 1 Wishhiker, Sherminator essays to every 2-3 offhand one-liners.  I promise it will read better.  As it is, comments threads are like hacking through essay jungles with a machete.


2.  Take Silentpadna and RockiesJeff as icons here.  You enjoy their short Hellos, doncha?


3.  Have heard this for 20 years.  By 20 we mean, "twenty years."  The regulars leave nothing for the occasionals to say!  But!  YOU like it when the occasionals post, right?  So post anything.  I hate, hate, hate the idea of somebody deciding not to join the convo because they think it's trite.  It's NOT trite; it is your scout cross-check from your section of the stadium.  It is "flavor text" from a unique person.

By the way, if you're not registered, your comment goes into the spam filter but I'll approve first thing, next time I sit down.


So, bring it!  :- )



He sez,


Here's Nathan's thought of the day: Staring Pitching edition

Our rotation consists of an ace (Paxton), a one (Felix), a two (Smyly), a three (Kuma), and an expensive scrub (Gallardo).

One: Would you disagree with that assessment? If so, how? Why? 

Two: There are worse rotations in the game today. Heck, there are worse rotations in the AL West. We're not in so bad a position at starting pitching as others.

Three: Should we implement a six-man rotation? Kuma, Felix, and Smyly all have hard data (I presume?) that points to improved performance given an extra day of rest. Would the improved quality of start (presumed) offset the decrease in quantity? Who would be your number 6?

Four: Is this five-man rotation, plus our depth, enough to rely on for a playoff push? I'm leery. There have been a lot of pixels dedicated to talking about our improved pitching depth, and I agree that depth has been improved, but is it enough? I'm squeamish. I'd anticipate a significant deadline deal for a starting pitcher. Who would you NOT be willing to part with to obtain said pitcher for a playoff push? Does 3 months of minor league performance change that opinion? If so, how? What would that look like?

Five: Science has maximized throwing mechanics relative to the rules of major-league baseball such that humans have established an historic level of performance. What is the next step? Fine ligament manipulation? Altering shoulder bone structure? Micro-servo catapults in the wrist-joint? Where might the rules line be drawn with regards to cyborg solutions? How do you legislate replacement ligaments made of woven cabon nano-tubes vs. a Mega Man shoulder cannon? What about anti-aging? If Pharma invents a pill that restores telomeres and forces your body to perpetually generate stem cells, what would you say to Greg Maddux's comeback? Would that scenario be excluded from the performance enhancing doping rules? What would the arguments be on either side? How might that affect the Hall of Fame?


Dr D sez,

ONE:  Seriously, I'm afraid to guess at what this rotation might be.  It might very easily be four ones.  Or three ones and a two (Iwakuma).

1 Paxton for me IS a no questions asked number one starter.  Not, might become an ace.  He IS an ace; when he goes out there on April 5* it will be exactly the same thing as if we had traded for Jose Quintana or somebody.  How long it will take people to ADMIT that the kid is an ace, is THEIR BLINKING PROBLEM.

2-3 Felix IS a two-three with upside and a little nervousness.  

3+ Smyly IS an elite three for me, based on past performance, or an Opening Day starter if he's anything APPROACHING the Venezuela game.  

2-3  Iwakuma IS a proven TOR starter (2-3 on a playoff team) IF he's healthy and does not hit the age wall.

That's what they ARE for me.  What they might become, best case, is a 4-man rotation of All-Stars.  Can't say that out loud, though.


FOUR:  We're not relying on our rotation.  Pleasant thought, no?


FIVE:  This reminds me of the question of --- > orthopedic spring-feet amputees running the 400m in 40 seconds.  The "last step" physically seems to have been that TJ surgeries are elective, besides the bloodflow-stim and etc that G-Money could elaborate.  The "next step" sounds pretty futuristic to me.

If ... no, when ... science allows us to turn 65-year-olds back into 35-year-olds, count me as Full Steam Ahead.  This is a great "paradox" for those who weep and wail about steroids.


Good stuff,




RockiesJeff's picture

With a short hello and quick thought, very glad they got Smyly! Bullpen could potentially shine. Povse to the rescue? O'Neill to 1st?

Baseball season is coming up! Jeremy will probably be at extended spring training...will let you know.

Thank you for the magic done with mere words!



Keep this flotilla of speedy OF's (including Boog) on the table.  O'Neill as a mobile OF would be pretty quick around the 1B bag, right?  Will watch for the announcement of O'Neill taking grounders at 1B for Tacoma...

QUESTION FOR YOU JEFF.  How worried would you be, as a coach, O'Neill handling both a promotion to the 3-decker stadiums, and a new position?  Not sure it hurt Seager much, though Seager had made friends with 3B to some extent ... forgetting the specifics...

Not that anybody else can't answer the Q also :- )

RockiesJeff's picture

My thought too...if you have a successful OF of speedsters and can't get production out of 1B....wouldn't that seem to be a natural play to think about moving O'Neill? I think it depends on his maturity. Obviously he has to show that he can handle it and have some confidence first....but then, a good player can handle a lot of things. If the timing, setting, everything has to be aligned just right...then I would be he can't cut hitting a curveball either...if that makes sense?


that baseball players are used to high mountain climbs like hitting Evan Scribner curveballs and playing in New leagues?

 But you don't want to give the MLB challenge to some kid who will start hitting the nightlife the moment he's there? 

:- )


If we're talking short-term, and as a means to get Tank's bat in the lineup, then a move to 1B wouldn't go down too hard.

But if his bat is thundering in Tacoma and demanding a promotion, then you move a weak hitting LHB LF or CF out to #4 and let O'Neill acclimate to the bigs playing a position he's comfortable with.  If you had a total 1B breakdown, just go with Motter and Gamel.  Or pick up Adam Lind off the scrap heap.  Well, not that option, I suppose.

I would be less surprised to see some Gamel 1B time in Tacoma than i would  to see Tank there.


....Who in their right mind wouldn't be squeamish about their rotation?  All of it depends to some degree on avoiding injuries (some luck), BABIP (some luck), umpiring (some luck), and regression.  Regression and umps and injuries and BABIP trouble can happen to the Cubs too.

I'm sure the Dodgers are squeamish too.  What happens if Kershaw goes down for any length of time.  Apply that to any team with hopes.

For me it's part of the territory.  I think they can win even if Gallardo is only an innings eater, or worse.  I think you load up the best you can, which the M's have done, and you go to war.  Just like the Cubs are doing again this year.  If I'm following them, I'm squeamish about my rotation and the possibilities  too. 

9 a guy who loved him back in the Brewer days (I had some time in the midwest 5-10 years ago - what a joy to see glory-days Pujols vs Braun live!), I'm not holding my breath here. My attitude toward Gallardo right now is 'we've got the depth; just move on quickly if needed.'

Granted that depth looks a lot thinner if you have to spend some of it on replacing Yovani, but with a 'herd' of three or four 3-4-types on the horizon, they don't all have to pan out for replacements to be found. And again there remains the midseason acquisition; I'd sure be game for a two-plus stumbling his way across the trading minefield into the PNW...


(Dons protective armor before saying...)

There's no doubt Paxton has elite stuff, and that at times he's produced at an elite level. But to me an elite pitcher has to add two more ingredients-- durability and elite makeup. Gimme a full season of 180+ innings and then I'll check off that box. My real caveat with Paxton has always been a tendency to blow up when things go wrong. He'll pitch four innings of brilliant ball, then a walk on a close pitch, a bloop, and next thing you know he's given up four runs and is gone in the fifth. Not that this happens every game, but I've seen it too many times. When I see this I mutter in exhasperation, "Rockhead! Paxton's a rockhead!) I know it's not completetly fair, but until I start seeing more gutty performances that's when I'll upgrade Paxton from an elite talent to an elite pitcher.

Okay, boys, you can start throwing things...NOW!


Or at minimum, a few shutouts in Fenway and Yankee during a pennant race.  (50 career wins will substitute for a rookie's pennant race W's, as they did for Felix.)  If by "ace" we mean "belief in the dugout that he's a Game Seven Stopper."  That's a perfectly legit use of the term "ace," and probably the one baseball people use more.  

Good point DaddyO.  cosign!



My use of the term is merely "I'll start him in roto, ahead of Jose Quintana, on April 5, even if there's a run-in-skivvies-to-Portland bet at stake."  

*I* believe in him as much as I do a Quintana, but I'm sure that Robinson Cano doesn't.  That was true a lot back in the '80's and '90's when Bill James would tell the baseball world that an Albert Belle was one of the best hitters in baseball, but his teammates needed the 100 RBI season first.  James would declare an unlucky 11-13, 4.34 ERA rookie with 220 K's to be an Opening Day starter even though the kid's teammates thought he was a loser.


*Makeup:  remember the 4 starts down the stretch against elite teams, as a rookie, where he wiped them out?  My opinion is that with Paxton the frustrations have not been due to his personality; it's been due to unlucky injuries and due to the mechanics of an awkward lefty.  I love Paxton's makeup.  My $0.02.


"when science allows us to turn 65-year-olds back into 35-year-olds"

What I wouldn't give to be able to play a game or two of over-the-line with friends!


I don't think there's any keeping the genie in the bottle once it's out.  Once we find the way to long-term youth, baseball careers will be bounded only by a person's desire to keep playing the game. And, to be honest, I think most players won't want to keep playing it forever.  It's a stressful, time consuming occupation and it really hurts family life. What you might see is players retiring at 30 to have kids and coming back at 55 when their kids are in college and getting re-drafted/re-signed.

I'm of the opinion that the game has immensely benefited from progress that 1920s players would have considered impossible or, if possible, unfair. I think having 40 years of Ken Griffey is better than having 20. Just my 0.02


...who were still productive...guys like Rivera and Pettitte...just...get tired of playing baseball.  It's kind of soul-crushing after a while.

The same thing just happened to David Ortiz.

If some guys want to play for eighty years, I don't see the fact...think of the continuity in the game that this would create?  The PLAYERS would see the would tie up roster spots for a lot longer and make turnover much less (meaning the quality of competition would drastically improve and the barriers to entry at the big league level would be astonishingly tall), but...what if I could still be watching BABE RUTH?

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