|Seattle Announces the 2008 Five Man Rotation|
Written by Nicholas Kramer (Contact & Archive) on March 07, 2008
Bedard, as you may have heard, came over in a trade from the Baltimore Orioles. He had 13 wins versus 5 loses for a very bad Baltimore team. The Mariners believe the Navan, Ontario, native can have a big season. He is known for getting guys out and eating innings. The price for Bedard -- outfielder Adam Jones, relief pitcher George Sherrill, and three prospects -- was well worth it.
“King Felix,” the youngest pitcher in the rotation, is coming off a decent ’07 season. He went 14-7 with a 3.92 ERA. The 22-year-old is expected to be even better this year. The hard throwing right hander battled through injuries, but still did much better than the average major league pitcher. If he can stay healthy for the entire season, the Mariners may have their first 20 game winner since Jamie Moyer did it in 2003 with 21.
The Mariners’ big free agent splash, Silva, signed with the team in an attempt to lure Johan Santana to the Mariners. Silva is a close friend of Santana’s and has a solid season in 2007 for the Minnesota Twins. He brings an arm that can eat innings; he’s also very steady. Silva’s only down year was 2006, when he went 11-15 with a 5.94 ERA. A move from the hitter friendly Homerdome to spacious SafeCo Field and pitching in front of a great infield defense should help him, too.
Washburn is the Mariners’ most expensive pitcher and perhaps the least productive. He primarily throws a fastball and brings plenty of experience, both in the postseason and years spent in the major leagues. He also has a nasty streak that should help the laid-back organization. Since the 2002 season, Washburn’s numbers have fallen, but 2007 was an example of what he could do. In 2002, Washburn was 18-6 for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
At 37, Batista is the elder statesmen of the rotation. However, he has privately griped about being considered the No. 5 guy. Batista is a rarity in that he has gone from a pitcher used mostly in the bullpen, but accrued a few starts, to an average starter who brings experience that has not been seen since Jamie Moyer’s departure. He won 16 games last season, but may be bumped to the bullpen if Ramirez puts together a good spring. His age may soon catch up with him, so look for Batista to have one final go at it.
The rotation, 1-5, seems solid on paper. Bill Bavasi, the Mariners’ GM, went to great lengths to make sure the focus was on the starting rotation this offseason. These were good moves, but giving up Jones was seen as extreme to many in Mariners nation. However, this should improve the team overall. With the quiet talk of signing Sammy Sosa or Barry Bonds for next season not going away, the mariners offense could match their pitching rotation.
Will Bill Bavasi’s plan of bringing the best starting rotation since 2001 work? Will the Mariners be able to take the Angels for the AL West? All of this depends on those five arms and will be answered over the next seven months.