Sunday, March 16, 2008

Bullpen Battles Updated

It's time to take another look at the Mariners' position battles, but our focus tonight is going to be on the bullpen. We're going to look more at the players in the battles, then the battles themselves.

RA Dickey
Dickey has never left the running for the long relief role, and is now has a fifty percent chance of getting that role. In 9 IP so far this Spring, he has a 2.00 ERA, giving up two runs on six hits. He's struck out four, walked three, and hit one. The ERA is nice, and the strikeouts aren't bad, but it's the baseunners that have me a little worried. Yes his WHIP would only be about 1.20 or something, which is pretty good. I think that it's his walk rate that has me worried more than anything. Other than a statistical update, there's nothing new on Dickey.

Cha Seung Baek
Baek is, and seems to have always been a wild card in the Mariners' organization. He hasn't found himself in a Major League role, and maintained that. He's been up and down several times, which would be why he is out of options. In 7 IP so far this Spring, he had an ERA of 1.29, giving up six hits, and only one run. He has walked none, but hit one. He has three strikeouts as well. Nothing shocking or truly interesting. I like the no walks, but wouldn't mind a few more strikeouts. Like Dickey, he has a fifty percent chance of getting the job. The idea of using Baek as a middle reliever has been tossed around the blogosphere. Who knows. The Mariners may be forced in to using Baek in a mid relief role because of all of the uncertainties with the rest of the bullpen.

Ryan Rowland-Smith
RRS is all over the map for what his potential job could be with the Mariners. He could be a middle reliever and as a set up man. The idea of him being a set up man is been focused on more than the idea of him being a middle reliever. To be honest, I've only heard of him being a mid reliever a few times, and most of those times were my thoughts. He's left handed, and could help fill the shoes left my George Sherrill. I think that we're going to be talking a lot about not having Sherrill with this team anymore. In 8.2 IP this Spring, RRS has an ERA of 0.00, giving up seven hits, and one un earned run. He's walked five and struck out five. The ERA is great, but the walk rate is not. I don't know why I am so paranoid about relievers' WHIP, but stats don't lie, because a reliver with a WHIP of 2.24 isn't going to get the ball to the closer with the same lead, as a reliever with a WHIP of 1.27 is he? As soon as RRS gets that walk rate down to around 2-3/9, then he could become a solid reliever/set up man. Again, basically just a stat update here.

Ryan Feierabend
A bright young prospect who may just find his way on to the Mariners. He was brought up through the Mariners' system as a starter, which I think that he'd be better off as, but if he's with the Mariners, it would be a mid-relief role, or maybe a set-up role. I don't know why this guy hasn't been talked about as a long reliever. Brandon Morrow either. It would help both develop as a starter. So far this Spring, Feierabend has an ERA of 3.68 in 7.1 IP. He's given up three runs on four hits, with four walks, one hit batter, and four strikeouts. ERA looks like it will stabilize, and he hasn't given up many hits. The strikout rate looks good, but I'd like to see the walk rate go down a bit though. This is another guy who won't go away.

Eric O'Flaherty
O'Flaherty will be the last guy that we look at for tonight. He has only gotten 4.2 IP so far, but that can send mixed signals. It could be that they've seen enough and are ready to decide on him already, or he is falling out of the running for a big league job. He's given up three hits, and has an ERA of 0.00. He's stuck out four, and hit one. I'm not going to criticize anything about this guy, because there isn't anything that I really deem criticizeable. Maybe he has fallen out of favour with the Mariners.

I'm going to go over all of the position battles, and perhaps all of the Mariners players over the next four-five days before I leave, so you have some reading material while I'm gone.

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