Erasmo and Maurer vs Garland
Bah humbug, Dept.


In the 1995 Player Ratings Handbook, Bill James taught us one thing we never forgot.  (He reviewed each MLB player with the kind of Q-and-A-yourself shtick that we use here, and I liked the way it chunked the information.)  He stated in the introduction that he wasn't going to "ask" any question -- ANY question -- that more than 50% of his readers already knew the answer to.  In other words, he was going to keep it fresh.

So when ventilating our outrage over the March decisionmaking, we're not going to restate these points:


phxterryAt some point, talent & upside have to prevail in these line-up decisions. If so, E-Ram will be on the 25 man roster ahead of Garland, Beavan, whoever.1 hour 1 min ago
glmuskieBy Baker's arguments, no minor leauge SP would ever break camp with the big league club unless they were desperate, because every minor league SP has pitched about 150 innings which roughly translates to 50 Major League (TM) innings. Exaggeration for effect. But E-Ram has pitched 150 innings for basically 3 years straight. What else is he gonna do, pitch every other day in the minors to get to 300 innings so he'll be safe to pencil in the lineup?1 hour 38 min ago
DaddyOFiggins traded back to the M's for Paxson? Now THAT would seriously hack off some M's fans!1 hour 49 min ago
phxterryAnything to do with Gutierrez' going missing the last few days?2 hours 30 min ago
Gordon GrossBaker had better be wrong, and Lonnie too if he's on the same trail. Erasmo to Tacoma for anything less than a serious injury concern (which as far as I can tell is non-existent) would give me severe angryface.3 hours 16 min ago
bsrBaker's latest predicts Garland and Beavan for the final rotation spots with E-Ram and Maurer to Tacoma. I'm assuming that's what you're smelling down there Lonnie?3 hours 46 min ago
Gordon GrossYou're not making my morning, Lonnie, I'll tell you that.4 hours 41 min ago
Lonnie of MCThere is a whiff of something on the wind down here in the Valley of the Sun. There is a high potential for a situation that will make a lot of Mariner fans cringe and shout with rage. I can't go into details, but believe me, it could piss a lot of people off!4 hours 45 min ago
M-Pops"Big Three" cut. Noesi also gone. #5 SP and final 'pen spot left for Garland/Beaven/Bonderman/Maurer to fight over.12 hours 42 min ago
mojicianYeah, Maurer’s 11 strikeouts in 10IP against 1 run is some good stuff. Also note that €-rasmo is running circles around Garland and Beavan this spring. Take a gander at that .083 WHIP.19 hours 50 min ago
Gordon GrossI ain't been hyping Maurer for 2 years just because of his pretty face. ;)20 hours 3 sec ago

MtGrizzlyMaurer is running circles around the "big three".20 hours 18 min ago

No disrespect, of course, but that's why we're not going to restate GLMuskie's accurate observation.  Suppose you followed Baker's logic with EVERY young pitcher?, but on to the SSI take.


Q.  Does Geoff Baker believe that Erasmo Ramirez is a poor choice for an ML rotation?

A.  Baker is -- in essence -- accurately RELAYING to us the EMOTIONAL RESPONSES of the Mariner shot-callers.

Baker definitely does not disagree.  But keep in mind that he is taking pains to explain the way Wedge looks at it.  And he's saying, "MLB shot-callers are not idiots, to be contrasted with bloggers' genius.  Wedge's position is rational."

When Baker seems to argue that Ramirez had just a little taste of success in a handful of starts last year, and that we don't know much, hey man, maybe he's a meatball, that's where the train derails.  But the rest of it is pretty well on track.


Q.  How many other teams in MLB would hesitate to start Erasmo Ramirez in Safeco this April because of endurance concerns?

A.  I hereby accuse the Mariners of being the ONLY team in the majors that would consider this any factor with respect to Erasmo Ramirez specifically.

I lodge this accusation without any qualifications whatsoever.

If this is the way the Seattle Mariners are looking at Erasmo Ramirez, it is idiosyncratic to their corporate culture.  It has nothing to do with accepted MLB standards, across the industry.

Ramirez has been brought along correctly.  He's had his soft landing, his Weaver year.  His mechanics are perfect -- they repeat beautifully, with perfect decleration.  All pitchers are health risks.

Erasmo is one of the 5 best ML-ready sabermetric bets in baseball this spring.  Maybe THE best.  Shandler's all over him.


Q.  Yeah, but suppose Erasmo did run out of gas in August?

A.  Suppose the surgically-reconstructed Jon Garland did?  

Is there any chance of Garland not throwing 200 IP after 0 IP last year, and 50 IP the year before?

Too rissssky, gollum, too risssssky.  :: scoff ::

You have a problem with a pitcher, you, um ..... CALL UP YOUR #6 GUY!  BRILLIANT!  ::guinness::  The Mariners don't have any #6 starters anywhere?


Q.  How many teams in MLB would hesitate to start Brandon Maurer in the big leagues because of IP concerns specifically?

A.  I don't know -- maybe five?

There are probably 25 teams in MLB who would hesitate to start Jon Garland because of IP concerns.

This is the org that dreamwalked around training camp in euphoria because of the "presence" of Batista, Washburn, Silva and Meche simultaneously with Felix.  It looks great, having those guys around, man.


Brandon Maurer was looking like Gil Meche done right.  That's the same thing as saying he had a shot to be the best pitcher in baseball.  


Q.  So why these noises about sending Erasmo and Maurer down because they're fragile rookies, when the pitcher who is ACTUALLY fragile is one Jon Garland?

A.  Baker relayed the answer to this question, too.  Wedge apparently had a recruiting conversation with Jon Garland over the winter.  Wedge got overenthused.  "You can help this team, man!  Come play with US!  Just show your old arm and we'll win the pennant together!"

So there you go.  An overzealous winter promise.


Q.  Could you argue that the M's made a commitment to Garland, and they can't renege once Garland delivers his end?

A.  If they'd told everybody, including Erasmo and Maurer, at the start of spring training, that Garland was their man.  AND THEN IF GARLAND HAD PITCHED GREAT.  Maybe!

Garland has thrown 6 innings in March.  Walked 4, struck out 1.  Yeah, I'd say they now OWE Jon Garland one of their five rotation slots.  Clearly he's earned his place in line ahead of Erasmo in this organization.

Concerned about the message to future camp invitees?  I'd be concerned about a message, but it wouldn't be that one.  The Mariners have a lotta kids right now, who are doing everything the club asks of them.

This is nothing but the Silva-Washburn-Batista mentality all over again.  They've GOT Joe Saunders IN there already.  And Iwakuma.  Yep, we need to landlock the #4 slot too, with ANOTHER 100 ERA+ meatball, ahead of all these kids.


I watched Garland throw in the TV game.  He was okay.  Yes, it's very possible that he's back to 2009, for what that's worth.  They're selling six decent innings as lights-out, the fact that he can (at the moment) throw the ball without pain.


Q.  If Dr. D owns the M's, how does he reconcile this?

A.  My GM takes the fall.   "Hey, I know you and Eric had plans."  Or I as owner take the fall.  "Hey, I know you and Eric and Jack had plans.  We simply didn't realize that these kids -- Erasmo, Maurer, and Beavan -- would be where they are."

Earl's 7th Law.  You owe it to the other 24 men in the clubhouse to make the call that gives the ballclub the best chance to win.  Let me read that sentence again.


Q.  No doubt Wedge does feel like an MLB(TM) workhorse like Garland IS the best chance to win.

A.  What, the next 100 games?  The next 162 games?  Or are we "trying to get this thing where we want it" over the next 2, 3, 5 years?

The Big Three -- that's Taijuan, Hultzen, and Paxton -- are already a bit delayed.  What, you're going to wait until May 2015 on them?  How many pitches do they have in their arms?

You've got to get Erasmo and Maurer in there ahead of the Big Three.  Once the Big Three are here, there won't be any way to give Erasmo or Maurer or anybody else a chance.


Q. How much does this hurt the M's, their blocking such talented young pitchers with MLB(TM) injury retreads?

A.  For 2013, it cuts way into their chances for a Cinderella season.  The A's won the division in 2012 because their young pitching locked people down.  You're taking Garland's 100, 110 ERA+ and spitting away your chances of getting a Pineda-type impact from Erasmo and/or Maurer.  Pineda card draw GONE for 2013.

For 2013-15, you're likely going to come out of it with 1-2 fewer Doug Fisters than you'd have had otherwise.

But, no big deal.  I'll still watch the games with Garland and Beavan running 4.40 ERA's.





Slamming Garland ahead of Erasmo, that would exceed the MLB(TM) corporate culture of the Silva-Batista-Washburn era.
You can DEBATE this other stuff.  Garland ahead of Erasmo?!  ::shakes head::
That's not to diminish the fact that Maurer needs to be in there also.  But the Erasmo debate is outrageous.  I think they oughta send Jesus Montero to AAA to clear PA's for Kelly Shoppach.


It can't really be possible that Garland/Bonderman gets the nod ahead of ERam. Not possible on this planet. Not possible unless your manager is completely enamored with grizzled veterans.
But even Wedge can't be THAT enamored, can he? Holy holy holy snot.
OK, I'll understand the shipping out of Hultzen.....until May 15th or some such date. But that bit of benefit doesn't exist with ERam...and he's going to be solid to way good, with a chance of terrific....and do so right now.
For Garland/Bonderman? Head shakes, again.
If ERam isn't #3 or #4 I will threaten to boycott the M's. I'll only threaten, mind you...but it would be tempting.
But I would take it as another sign of OD: Organizational Disfunction!
Keep one of those guys as the 12th chucker......and so he can grizzle veteran all over the clubhouse, I suppose....
Or maybe as a precaution, considering Saunders' ST whoopin'.......
But gimme ERam. Just like every other team in the majors would do.
It would be indefensible...
Completely bummed right now,


That's understandable.  But most org's would probably do it with him as a swing man -- 3-4 IP out of the bullpen, spot starts.
In a similarly-charming fashion, the Mariners have declared a moratorium on young pitchers taking the Earl Weaver role.  No Can Do.  We have determined that pitchers are irreparably harmed that way.
Lots of fun following this org's upper management, ain't it?

bsr's picture

Beavan over Maurer, I'd be disappointed but could live Baker says they've been investing in Beavan to be the guy at the back of the rotation and he's certainly got SOME upside. Garland over E-Ram we just have to cross our fingers and hope it ain't so. Saunders-Garland-Beavan in a series...wake me up when it's over. M's stockpiling guys who when they were starting for the visiting team the past few years, you'd skip the game.
Tacoma might win 120 games this year though...maybe the M's want to get a PCL title under their belts before they feel comfortable trying for the real thing.


The Mariners should think less about the promises they made to John Garland, and more about the promises they made to the fans.  Jack promised us young pitching.  Of all the young pitchers, €-Ram is my very favorite.  His craftiness and clutchness are unprecedented in any 22 year old.  Plus, the kid has weapons.  The Angels and Rangers have real giants, and Garland's lifetime 4.9 strikeouts and 3.0 walks per nine are not going to slay any of them.  We need someone who can strike out Trout and Pujols when the chips are down and runners are on base.  Who's your guy for a problem like that?
Just preachin' to the choir.

Jon W's picture

Could there be any more of a sad comparison right now with how the Seahawks and Mariners are running side-by-side?
Seahawks - build the young core, throw them out there with hungry vets on prove-it-to-me contracts, and dominate both sides of the ball by stepping on throats.
Mariners? build the young core and then refuse to start them because apparently a veteran starter has some sort of non-compete clause/gentleman's agreement in his contract. Yeah, that is the way to build healthy competition. Nothing like the young pitchers resenting the veterans and the coaches that put them there.
Guess I will be hanging out in Tacoma more this year.
This organization can't get out of their own way. At this point it has to be willful ignorance.


Did you see this article on Michael Bennett, by the way?
Oh, and did we hear you're not posting anywhere at the moment?  If so, just let us know ( and we'll set you up to do front-page stuff here if you're so inclined.


There is something sensical there. You could have dueling arms in Tacoma, with the victor of Hultzen/Maurer coming up and getting a rotation slot in mid-May to June (if the Beav hasn't made a leap).
I can chew on that.
But I'm barfing all over Garland/Bonderman.

glmuskie's picture

Where Lou would have demanded Maurer and Erasmo. Erasmo in particular, I think he would have loved his toughness combined with strike-throwing ability.


Build your ENTIRE FRANCHISE around the mantra of assembling a pipeline of young, cheap talent (The consensus conclusion: the cream of your young talent pipeline is your young starting pitching.) Delay the deployment of that young pitching talent (even though some of it is clearly ready) in favor of veteran, cheap reclamation projects. Talk about mixed messages, both to the fans and to the players. I'll start to believe some of Howard and Chuck's brains are seeping into Zduriencik's if not one of they young pitchers makes the starting rotation our of spring training. If it continues that way into May I'll start to wonder if Chuck didn't bump off Jack, shave his head, and begin impersonating his GM.


I think Jack is firmly in "risk avoidance" mode. Maybe he got the Hot Seat talk from Lincoln or something but his entire off season was spent acquiring or trying to acquire 'reliable" veteran production. At least all those guys are on one year deals so presumably, they aren't blocking anyone long term.
Seems like Jack's seen enough youth for a while, at least. I just hope that Saunders and Garland are both just stop-gaps to get the club to mid season. If all we are talking about is 16-20 starts each, it becomes a bit easier to swallow.
Beavan over Erasmo would be a curious call.

ghost's picture

When I read that article by Baker this morning, I was completely flabberghasted. I'm sorry, but give me one good reason Erasmo Ramirez won't be Roy blinkin' Oswalt RIGHT NOW.


I've been railing over at MC of my fears that Garland is going to make the April Fools Day rotation.
I've also been whining that Wedge is infected with Veteran Entitlement Disease since very early in his tenure.
My take on the situation is Z wants the best players, regardless of pedigree, and he's doing his best to create that reality.
My take is Wedge has field level decision making power and his choice has been (and will continue to be) to put a large thumb on the scale for veterans. Olivo, Figgins, both continue playing in front of MULTIPLE better options when your average 8-year-old would have done otherwise.
In most cases, Z was literally forced to trade away or cut veterans to get the young talent into the lineup.
I have been vocal about my concerns with the rotation in 2013. Garland getting a spot scares me a LOT, and here's why.
For Seattle to win, they NEED a pitching staff at 115 ERA+ to go with their 100 OPS+ offense. Last year, they landed at 99. Why?
Vargas 97
Millwood 88
Beavan 84
Yes, Noesi was awful (64) ... but was swapped out for Iwakuma (118)
Saunders is already a Vargas clone ... probably hovering right around 100. Garland is a tick lower ... more likely to put up a Millwood-esque 88.
That simply does not cut it. To truly compete the club CANNOT settle for Felix and a bunch of SPs running 80-95 ERA+ numbers.
Maurer is certainly a risk. He could turn out to be a Noesi repeat. But if so, you swap in one of the big three.
The problem is AAA pitchers do NOT replace 90 ERA+ veterans. They replace 70 ERA+ starters.
I can at least appreciate the concept of having a reliable 200-IP veteran for genric rotation stabilization behind Felix, (which Saunders accomplishes). But, that reliability comes at a cost of upside. Saunders and Garland have zero upside. Erasmo, Maurer, and all of the big 3 have upside. Heck, Noesi at this point in his development has more upside than Garland.
Hey ... I get going with Beavan ahead of Maurer, (not what I would do ... but I can appreciate the arguments). But, if Beavan gets exposed this year rather than moving to Queen's Level Three, you can make that swap. But the Beavan Maurer choice is one between two different flavors of upside.
A rotation that includes both Saunders and Garland is (IMHO) one that screams "We WILL be mediocre this season, dammit!"
I look at the 2012 rotation. I see Millwood with 28 starts, an 88 ERA+ and a 6-12 record, while Erasmo only squeezes into 8 starts. The odds that ANY of the minor league pitchers were going to be invited to replace Millwood last season, while Kevin was running a 4.25 ERA? ZERO!
Having been the standard bearer for patience and the need to put in the work needed to become a competitive team, let me just state emphatically. If the club is determined to settle for "safe" veteran mediocrity THIS YEAR ... then the organization really is destined for continued failure as far as the eye can see.

ghost's picture

Went to check the Netherlands game score, saw that Garland got mulched by a bunch of nobodies...and smiled reeeeal big.
Every outing of his now, I want to be a total disaster so he can go away.


The only justification for keeping E ram down is protecting his elbow with a light start for the season. Remember he was on the DL last year. Number one predictor of pitcher health (or lack thereof)? IIRC, injury or time on DL in the prior year. Maybe they want to have him available for a playoff push? Or may the the plan is to trade him? Those are the only scenarios that make any sense.

Jpax's picture

I usually see Dr. Detecto using the 'What light bulbs do they have on that I don't' analysis when these types of situations arise. But not in this case. I think there could be a lot of reasons not to go with the rookies this year. For example:
1) Z and Wedge had to be rocked to watch Smoak, Montero (to a lessor extent), Ackley, Noesi, etc. virtually implode last year. (Due to pressure, not being ready, whatever reason??
2) This coming after Saunders imploded the previous year
3) I think Z and Wedge really want the rookies to 'earn' the promotion, not promote them too mquickly or just hand them the job
4) Z has often said he would rather promote too late than too eaqrly, as too early can destroy confidence and development
5) We aren't there to see all the nuances and reactions. Any minor leaguer can strike out or get a hit off a MLB (tm) player, but is he mentally ready to do it batter after batter, inning after inning?
6) I notice that none of these 'old vet' contracts are long term (most are 1-year). This leaves plenty of opportunity for the rookies to press and 'earn' their way onto the team.
7. I have been watching Mariners prospects for 10-12 years now and can only recall really only 2 prospects arriving and succeeding from the start (Pineda and Seager, but I am sure I have missed someone)
8) As to what Lou would have done, I remember a stream of highly touted rookies rushed up too quickly and then eventually failing (for whatever reason, possibly loss of confidence and failure to adjust?). Specifically Wolcott, Cloud, Soriano (as a starter)
I am still willing to give the Mariners the benefit of the doubt. In my opinion they are not a stupid organization prone to making rash decisions. I do agree that these moves have not yet happened yet (so may not). And that they tend to be more of a 'stoploss' for risk avoidance rather than a 'shooting for the stars' philosophy. But we are positioned for tremendous flexibility and turnover this year and next.


All very interesting points.  Maybe we'll get a chance to mosh off all 8 of them.  Good stuff.
That the Mariners would be a little gun-shy about overdoing it rookies in general, that would be understandable.  Whether they should, at THIS point, bail on Michael Saunders and Erasmo Ramirez and Jesus Montero specifically, that's the issue.
If there were one Mariner rookie* I'd bet on for 2013, it would be Erasmo -- ahead of Ackley, Saunders, Montero, everybody.
But yeah.


Since '03, among pithcers who have throw at least 60 innings in their roookie season, Mateo, Corcoran, Pineda, Felix, Madritsche, Beavan, Delabar and (maybe) Morrow all had modicum to better levels of success.
Recent history suggest Mariner rookie throwers do just fine, thank you.

Jpax's picture

Thanks, Moe.
I knew I was missing some prospects, but I figured they would be minor relievers. How could I have missed Felix? Anyway, I was thinking more primarily about hitters. Specifically, Jones, Choo, Balentine, Clement, Morse, Tuiasosopo, etc.

M's Watcher's picture

Garland's best was 2005-06 winning 18 games for the Chisox each year (~4 WAR), but most reasonable high end expectations for 2013 are for a .500 pitcher with 200+ IP, a 4.30 ERA, and maybe 1+ WAR. That isn't much. It could even be argued that he's more likely to have his arm fall off, given his recent injury history. Heck, I feel for him in his comeback attempt, and if we indeed needed a placeholder for year, fine. But Erasmo, Maurer, and even Beavan have greater upsides and less injury history. Erasmo has 150+ IP for two of the past three seasons (138.1 in 2012), and Beavan 190 in each of the past two. Maurer has pitched 100+ IP only once, in 2012, since HS. He may look ready, but I could understand sending him for some AAA innings to build up season-long endurance. I wouldn't expect him to stay there too long.

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