- Larry LaRue on Cliff Lee’s current condition.
- Matthew Carruth at Lookout Landing on more of the same.
I’m trying as hard as anyone right now to maintain my optimism levels, but those are waning a little. Who does this leave us, really? Felix Hernandez is a given. So for the other four starters, this gives us the options of Jason Vargas, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Ian Snell, Doug Fister, and maybe, just maybe, Shawn Kelley. Shawn Kelley? Shawn Kelley!
I’m just going to say this at the risk of sounding like I don’t know what I’m talking about (which is pretty much a guarantee) – I have no problem with Jason Vargas as an interim starter – or even more than interim, if necessary. He’s had experience with starting before, and he took on Randy Johnson’s Giants and won. He doesn’t project very well by Bill James, but these are desperate times, and call for desperate measures; and his projections are as a relief pitcher, not a starter. I have no reason to doubt the professionals, but I’d like to think that Vargas is up to the challenge. This is me being optimistic!
Ian Snell is not doing great in the spring, but boy is he stoked about it. One might make the argument that a guy who is happy with his station regardless of wins or losses is a far greater asset than some cranky dude who keeps losing, but he still scares the living hell out of me. It’s nice, however, to see that his move from Pittsburgh seems to have lightened his mood. He seems even more joyous than last year, when he had to field a lot of questions about his past, and it would appear that he has assimilated well in Seattle. Could he benefit from more time spent in Tacoma? Maybe – but we are reaching the point of diminishing returns here, and we need major league-ready pitchers. I’m behind him all the way, I’m just looking for him to take charge. Happy doesn’t win games.
I’m not ready to be worried about Ryan Rowland-Smith. He’s had a bad spring, but I can’t give up on him. It will be interesting to see what slot in the rotation he winds up in. I’d like to see him in 3, since I’ll hazard the guess that barring anything crazy happening next week (and based solely on Spring Training performance), Vargas might wind up in the 2-hole there…
Doug Fister is coming back from a hit to the hand, and Luke French gets the start today. I keep forgetting about Luke French, since injury kept him out of a lot of games last year after he was brought over here via trade. I like Fister and would love to see him nail down a rotation spot while being good. French I’m kind of ‘eh’ about, simply because I still don’t know that much about him. At this rate, I’m just hoping that both of them can ratchet up their performances.
Now, Dave Cameron is also saying that the expectation is that Mike Sweeney will make the team, Ryan Garko will be optioned, and Ryan Langerhans will get DFA’d (that Tweet looks like a statement of fact – it isn’t, he followed it up with another mentioning that it was not official news).
The Mike Sweeney Issue is something that has been plaguing Mariners fans all Spring Training long. The fact that he is doing well right now is encouraging to me personally, and I am not alone. But how long does this last? I might agree with Jon Shields here – who cares? We need everything we can get right now. If a healthy Mike Sweeney hitting well in the DH hole is what it takes to help Ichiro and Chone Figgins OPS their way through the first month or so of the year before Lee and Erik Bedard are feeling well enough to hold up the team through pitching, do we really have the right to complain? Of course it’s not the best case scenario – but we are seriously running out of options here, barring a trade – and I just don’t think they’re going to do that, not with the way they’ve been talking about some of our Rainiers. At this rate, if Matt Tuiasosopo was on the Opening Day roster, it wouldn’t shock me in the least.
All of it is just too much for me today. I am greatly anticipating the Opening Day roster, at this point for literally no other reason than that it will be over, we’ll know what’s going on, and there will be some sense of finality. I’m going to take a few hours’ break from the computer and process all of this mess. As you were…