RA Dickey, the knuckleballer that was selected in the Rule 5 Draft, has a bit of an advantage, because Jamie Burke who can catch the knuckler will be with the team, and the Mariners will likely lose Dickey because of the rules regarding a player taken in the Rule 5 Draft. USS Mariner calls him a lock, but they haved loved the idea of a knuckleballer on the team since Dickey was picked up. I called Dickey's acquisition a C+ in my Offseason Assessment. Dickey has been given a bit more than his share of looks this Spring, a 1.80 ERA in 5 IP while giving up 3 hits so far.
Cha Seung Baek also has some leverage with the Mariners, because he is out of options, and doesn't want to go back to Tacoma. Baek is an interesting speciman. He isn't a great prospect, but isn't anything special in the MLB. Last year, he had a 1-1 record, with a 3.19 ERA in 31 IP. With the Mariners, he went 4-3 with a 5.15 ERA in 73.1 IP. I hadn't realized how many innings he had logged in the majors last year. Baek's stats aren't out of this world, but for some reason, he just seems to never go away. For some reason he is in a good position to win this battle. This Spring, he has an ERA of 2.25 in 4 IP, giving up 4 hits, and 1 earned run.
Horocio Ramirez doesn't have much, if any leverage in this battle. His 7.76 ERA in 98 IP last season. No more stats for him because I don't want to throw up. The new pitching coach Mel Stottelmyer is supposidly going to fix up HoRam into a decent pitcher. I guess that there isn't too much further down the hill that he can go. He has only given up one hit in 2 IP so far this Spring. Ramirez could be a decent reliever, he can't be any worse than he was as a starter, but I'd say will end up in AAA.
After the previous sentance, you can guess that it's down to Baek and Dickey for the long relief spot, and I have trouble picking one. If one of them doesn't make it, than that one will in almost every scenario be outta here. Who'd you choose?