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AL West: The Good, the Bad, and the Disorderly
Last winter, the Mariners found themselves with just two legitimate starting pitchers (Felix Hernandez and Jarrod Washburn) on the payroll. The arduous task of overhauling their rotation was made all the more difficult by an absurdly inflated market for starting pitching. After the supposed premier arms (Barry Zito, Jason Schmidt, Ted Lilly and even career-Mariner Gil Meche) proved too expensive, Seattle ended up acquiring three middling starters: Miguel Batista, Jeff Weaver and Horacio Ramirez. Almost three quarters of the way through the season, GM these three acquisitions fall into three categories: the good, the bad and the disorderly.
The good: Miguel Batista. Many folks questioned Seattle GM Bill Bavasi's sanity when he signed the then-35-year-old Batista to a three-year deal with $25 million, but Batista has served as a quality No. 3 starter. The right-hander easily leads the team with 12 wins (a career high), and boasts the second-highest starter ERA (4.13). In his 10th full year of MLB service, Batista has shown a veteran savvy over the last couple months, pitching fabulously and helping Seattle stay in the pennant race. Since June 10, Batista has made 11 starts and one relief appearance, going 6-4 with a 2.71 ERA. Over his past eight starts, Batista is 5-2.
The bad: Horacio Ramirez. The Mariners acquired Ramirez from Atlanta by trading promising reliever Rafael Soriano. Though he owns a winning record 7-4, that is just the byproduct of good run support -- the Mariners have produced 90 runs during his 14 starts (an average of 6.4 per game). Ramirez's true colors shine through in his horrendous 7.38 ERA. In fairness, Ramirez has been pretty good at Safeco Field, going 6-1 with a 4.05 ERA. But in his six road starts, the southpaw has been overwhelmingly horrendous (1-3, 13.50 ERA). The biggest problem for the 27-year-old has been his knack of throwing every pitch at a very similar speed, which takes away an element of surprise for a finesse pitcher. Without a legitimate replacement, though, Seattle's stuck with Ramirez for now.
The disorderly: Jeff Weaver. I'm going by the dictionary.com definition of disorderly: "characterized by disorder; irregular; untidy; confused." Thus far, "irregular" and "confused" perfectly describe Weaver's '07 campaign. He has either been fabulous or horrible, nothing in between, as evidenced by this post on BaseballMusings.com. I think it's safe to say the Mariners were looking for a bit more consistency when they signed Weaver -- a World Series hero last October -- to a one-year, $8.4 million deal.
Seattle is just three games behind Los Angeles in the AL West race and they're tied with New York in the Wild Card, so these three hurlers face a month-and-a-half of high-stakes pitching. Unfortunately for Mariners faithful, it doesn't look like Ramirez will be exempt from road trips.
Labels: AL West
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AL East blog (Monday)
NL West blog (Monday)
AL Central blog (Tuesday)
NL Central blog (Wednesday)
AL West blog (Thursday)
NL East blog (Thursday)
Wild Card (Friday)