Sunday, February 24, 2008

What's at Stake? The Bullpen

As spring training gets under way, We'll run down the position battles (such as they are) that make camp interesting. Last time we took a look at the rotation, today, the pen!

We'll assume a 7 man pen, and that we have to have two lefties, because the M's are obsessed with these types of things. Putz is the closer and Morrow is the right handed setup man. The left-handed setup guy comes down to Eric O'Flaherty or our old friend Arthur Rhodes. Based on health and recent effectiveness I'm guessing it goes to O'Flaherty. Mark Lowe has probably got a spot if he's healthy, so that leaves 3 spots. I've ranked the remaining competitors in order of likeliness of making the squad, and remember we've got to have one more lefty.

1. Sean Green. Pitched well for much of last year, with a 3.84 ERA in 68 innings, but was part of the late season bullpen struggles. Still he pitched well enough that he is likely to keep his spot unless he has a really bad camp.
2. Ryan Rowland-Smith. Also had solid half-season in the M's pen. 42 strikeouts in only 38 innings and 3.96 ERA probably gets him in the pen. Fills the second lefty role.
3. Horacio Ramirez. Since they traded for him and signed him to good sized deal in th offseason, I'm guessing he makes the club as long man. Bleah.
4. R.A. Dickey. Could get HoRam's job if he has a good camp. Remember, he has to be kept on the 25 man roster or be offered back to the Twins. So if the M's want to keep him as the 6th starter, they have to find room for him in the pen.
5. Arthur Rhodes. Arthur Lee has a shot at the LH setup role, but if he doesn't get it, they might not keep him around. Could be the second lefty if RR-S struggles in camp.
6. Chris Reitsma. He was terrible with the M's last year and he's likely done. But you know the M's. If he has a superficially decent camp and they decide they need his essential veteran-ness...
7. Jon Huber. Had 16 decent innings in 2006 at the end of the year, but lost a big chunk of last season to a forearm strain. Has been passed by Sean Green and probably needs someone to get hurt to have big league job.
8. Robert Rohrbaugh. Mentioned him in the starters post. He's a finesse lefty, with an outside shot at the pen. He's not getting any younger.
9. Cesar Jimenez. Comes in to camp having pitched great in Venezuela. Probably starts the year in Tacoma's rotation.
8. Sean White. Last year's Rule Five pick should start the year in the minors. But if a lot of bad things happen to a lot of guys he could make the club.


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