The Mariners signed former Seattle outfielder Endy Chavez. recently released by the Kansas City Royals. Though he signed a minor league contract, even if he starts the season in AAA Tacoma, he most likely will be with the big club before long. Perhaps even on opening day, because back up center fielder Casper Wells has not hit well, and there have been rumors manager Eric Wedge was unhappy with Well’s sometimes lack of attention during games last season, like forgetting how many outs there were.
Jason Bay is not a center fielder, but has hit well and has a better chance at making the team than Wells. But if Bay struggles early as a backup, then look for Chavez to be called up from Tacoma. Chavez is labeled by the Mariners as ‘protection.” That translates as ‘we need him.’
The final spot in the rotation is also up for grabs, which has now come down to Jeremy Bonderman and Blake Beavan. How they pitch during this final week determines who gets the spot. Brandon Maurer will pitch the last game of spring training, indicating he has won at least the fifth spot in the rotation. Erasmo Ramirez has pitched well but instead of being stretched out, he is being is being held back. He will be pitching behind King Felix in his next outing and Ramirez has a 50 pitch limit. The Mariners are concerned he has a tricep problem, so he will be watched closely.
If Bonderman, who has not pitched in two years, but will throw 90 pitches in his next start, has a bad outing, the door opens for Beavan. If Beavan also falters, the Mariners may just flip a coin. That begs the question of why Jon Garland, who pitched well, was released. It may be that Garland wanted the Mariners to make a decision last week, perhaps there was something in his contract, that required that, and the Mariners did not want, or could not, make a decision and wanted to wait to see how things played out during the final week.
Whatever the reason it has come down to Bonderman or Beavan. But then the M’s may still surprise. Is Carlos Silva still pitching?