The Starting Five has been a problem for the Mariners these past few years. And as a Mariners fan, it became had to watch guys like Jeff Weaver post disgusting numbers. Back up a little bit to probably about this time last year, the Mariners were in a situation similar to what's on their plates right now. The M's were out to get some much needed help to the ailing rotation. So Bill Bavasi went out and made a few moves. First, Miguel Batista was signed to a three year deal worth $24M. Batista posted a team high 16 wins in '07, along with a not so nice 4.29 ERA. Overall, I'd say that the Batista signing was a plus, because Batista put up some good numbers, and gave the Mariners a decent third starter. Bavasi continued his spending spree by signing veteran pitcher Jeff Weaver to a one year deal worth $8.35M. Weaver pulled off a good playoff performance in 2006 with the Cardinals, but couldn't do squat during the regular season. The M's thought that he was worth the same contract he got from the Angels before the 2006 season. Either that, or Scott Boras shoved Weaver's post season stats into Bavasi's face. Finally, in my opinion what was the worst move Bavasi made was trading RP Rafael Soriano to the Braves, for Horocio Ramirez. Now, considering that the Mariners had oneof baseball's best bullpens in 2007, the trade doesn't look too bad. Ho-Ram battled through injuries and poor performances, and didn't make Bavasi look too good.
So Bavasi is 1-2. He got a new contract, but still has a fire under his butt to get the Mariners into the playoffs. Billy boy has been busy so far this offseason, and is doing his best to address his pitching needs. The Mariners were said to be the most serious team after Japanese pitcher Huroki Kuroda, but lost out. Shortly after, the Mariners signed Carlos Silva to a four year deal worth $48M. Silva has been a decent 'inning-eater' for the Twins. He should provide some relief for a bullpen that was maxed out last season. Bavasi has dangled his farm team in front of the Twins and Orioles, for Johan Santana and Erik Bedard. The Mariners are believed to have dropped out in the Johan Santana sweepstakes, but are still talking Bedard with the Orioles. The M's are also considering taking on a rehab project in Bartolo Colon, in hopes that he could return to form, but the price will likely be too high.
The other option for the Mariners, is to fill the remainder of the rotation from withen. It's been said that Brandon Morrow, who was huge in the bullpen last year as a rookie, is being looked at as a potential starter next year. Rule 5 Draft pickup R.A. Dickey is another contender for the number five spot. His knuckleball could be a great addition, if, the Mariners can find someone who can catch one. Cha Seong Baek, Ryan Rowland-Smith, and Ryan Feierabend are others who should be in the race. Horocio Ramirez is going to be looking in too, as the Mariners hope that new pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre can figure out what's wrong with Ramirez. Looks to be a decent battle for that last rotation spot.
So far, here is who's pretty much garunteed a spot in the rotation:
I'd say that this rotation looks pretty good. If guys like Felix and Washburn can have good seasons, than this rotation will look better. Overall, I'd say that this rotation looks a bit better than last year's. But the million dollar question, or rather the multi-multi million dollar question is that is this rotation going to be as good, if not better, than the 2008 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim's?