erThe M’s wrapped up their spring campaign last night with a 1-1 tie against the Colorado Rockies, following a 5-5 tie Friday against those same Rockies. The results weren’t important, though the M’s played themselves out of the dubious Cactus League championship. No, there was plenty news for the M’s in the last week of the practice season.
Smyly’s soggy arm goes bad
Drew Smyly, a key offseason acquisition, identified early in the week by manager Scott Servais as having a soggy arm, ended up on the disabled list for 6-8 weeks with a flexor bundle strain. Now, I couldn’t tell you exactly what a flexor bundle is, or exactly how bad that can be, but it doesn’t sound good. Meanwhile, the M’s have had to do the fast shuffle, and pluck Ariel Miranda from their accumulated pile of pitching depth and plug him into the rotation. He’ll take Smyly’s scheduled start in Anaheim on Friday April 7th. While not the end of the world, one of my biggest concerns for the M’s heading into the regular season is the quality of the starting rotation, and I find this mildly disconcerting.
As major league camps shrank their 40-man rosters, general manager Jerry Dipoto knew there may be some valuable pieces available who could help the M’s over the long season and he poached two.
The first, and to my view, most valuable, was right-handed reliever Mark Lowe. This is Lowe’s third stint with the M’s. He’s been a very good reliever on some really bad Mariners teams. Lowe was a serviceable arm on some pretty good Texas Rangers teams. He was also a member of the all-melt-down bullpen of 2015, and the M’s traded him away at the deadline to Toronto. The Tigers signed him to a two year, handsome deal to begin 2016 and he was terrible. Lowe lost a couple of ticks on his fastball, became eminently hittable and finished the year with a 7.11 ERA, WHIP of 1.581, and allowed 2.1 HR/9. Can he help the Mariners? Well, he’s a major league veteran coming off a bad year in the ‘pen at age 34. Remember the Fernando Rodney Traveling Road Show and House of Horrors? After absolutely sucking for the Mariners in 2015, he was absolutely brilliant last year at age 39 for the Padres, then when he got traded to the Marlins seemed to return to his dark side. Bullpen arms are a crapshoot.
The M’s also picked up infielder Gordon Beckham when he was released by the Giants. Beckham began his career with the White Sox, but has consistently struggled at the plate since his 2013 season. It provides the M’s some depth, but it’s difficult to see how he pushes Taylor Motter, Shawn O’Malley or Mike Freeman out of the way unless there is some sort of disastrous event on the golf course in which all are swallowed in a sand trap.
Final Major League Roster
C Mike Zunino; Carlos Ruiz
1B Danny Valencia
2B Robinson Cano
SS Jean Segura
3B Kyle Seager
OF Jarrod Dyson, Leonys Martin, Mitch Haniger, Guillermo Heredia
Utility Taylor Motter
Felix Hernandez, James Paxton, Hisashi Iwakuma, Ariel Miranda, Yovani Gallardo
Cl Edwin Diaz, RHP Evan Scribner, RHP Nick Vincent, RHP Casey Fien, RHP Dan Altavilla, LHP Mark Rzepczynski, LHP James Pazos, LHP Dillon Overton.
Not a lot of news here. With three right-handers on the DL, guys who would be on the big league roster, the Mariners had to go with what they perceived as the hot hand. Tony Zych will likely be ready within a week or two. Steve Cishek may follow by the end of April Shae Simmons is less clear. Who will go and who will stay as these guys make their way back will likely be determined by early performance.