When the year began the Mariners bullpen looked something like this:
Closer: RHP Steve Cishek
RHP: Joaquin Benoit
RHP: Joel Peralta
RHP: Nick Vincent
RHP: Tony Zych
LHP: Vidal Nuno
LHP: Mike Montgomery
Today, either because of injury, ineffectiveness or trade, only Nuno remains on the big club. Of these pitchers, only Zych and Montgomery threw hard-mid to high -90’s. The rest had fast balls around 90, with a sinker or slider.
On August 6th we woke to the news the M’s traded for flamethrower Arquimedes Caminero from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Caminero routinely throws in the high 90’s and hits triple digits. He doesn’t, however, have a terribly friendly relationship with the strike zone, which is probably why he made it through waivers.
But he joins a bullpen that has more guys like him. Instead of sinker/slider guys, they are more dependent on the high octane fastball.
Closer: RHP Edwin Diaz
RHP: Tom Wilhelmsen
RHP: Drew Storen
RHP: Cody Martin
RHP Arquimedes Caminero (not available until Monday)
LHP Vidal Nuno
LHP Wade LeBlanc or Ariel Miranda
While I might not put the bullpen in the same category of the Royals or Yankees as they were constituted at the beginning of the season, this is a much harder throwing crew. With Diaz and Caminero, the M’s will have two guys who can touch 100 mph or more. Wilhelmsen can pitch in the 95-98 mph category. Storen is at about 91 right now, and if he could find those missing mph, could hang out at 95. From the left side, if he becomes a bullpen arm, Miranda is a mid 90’s guy.
In any case, my point is, the M’s have made over their ‘pen and have opted for the express option. Though each of these players, with the exception of Nuno and Diaz (and maybe LeBlanc/Miranda) have had their struggles this year, they definitely up the Mariners’ game if they can be effective and throw strikes. Storen has been good his last three appearances. In his 12 appearances with Seattle, Tommy the bartender has allowed runs in three appearances.
With Vincent and Charlie Furbush getting ready to pitch on the big club, there will be some interesting decisions to make about what the bullpen should look like and who should be in it.