Yesterday, Hector Noesi threw some good pitches, but he also threw some bad pitches, and he was removed having thrown just 80 pitches through five innings. It was his eighth start out of 17 lasting less than 90 pitches. Noesi owns one of baseball's highest ERAs, and his more meaningful numbers aren't a lot better.
Yesterday, with triple-A Tacoma, Carlos Peguero hit a grand slam. That gave him home runs in five consecutive games, and he hit two in the first one. Peguero has missed some time this year with an injury, but in 214 PCL plate appearances, he's posted a four-digit OPS with 18 dingers. The Mariners haven't scored since the middle of May.
There has been a transaction.
#Mariners recall OF Carlos Peguero from AAA Tacoma; option RHP Hector Noesi to Tacoma...Peguero (#4) will join team Friday in Oakland.— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) July 5, 2012
Realistically, I don't know how much to read into the Peguero promotion. The Mariners had replaced Franklin Gutierrez with a pitcher, so now they're back to a 12-man pitching staff, which is normal. Gutierrez will probably be activated after the All-Star break, which is three games away. Then a position player will have to go. Michael Saunders hasn't been the problem, Casper Wells hasn't been the problem, Gutierrez hasn't been the problem, and Ichiro isn't budging. Peguero might not last.
But he might, because of the dingers, and the Mariners have surprised us before. We've seen the Peguero show and it wasn't the greatest show on earth. The big question is whether Peguero's improved from where he was a year ago, when his approach was maybe the worst in the league. A year ago, Peguero was also a beast with Tacoma, and in 2012 his contact rate isn't any better. His strikeout rate isn't much better. He's walked more, and his ratio of called strikes to called balls is better, but hitters like Peguero don't drastically change overnight, if they drastically change at all. While it makes sense for Peguero to be up, I'll be skeptical until he gives me reason to feel otherwise.
I think the Noesi demotion says more, although maybe it doesn't say anything surprising since the Mariners have long been frustrated with Noesi's performance. The writing was on the wall and now Noesi will try to figure out how to throw a more consistent slider and a more consistent changeup and a more consistent curveball? and also how to more consistently hit his spots. Basically Noesi will try to figure out how to pitch better, in a lower-stress environment. There's also probably a non-performance element to this - the Mariners want to ease the burden on Noesi, but they might also be trying to give him a kick, a jolt to his senses. Noesi has gone from theto the Mariners to the minors. It's humbling and necessary, and if there was anything to those focus issues, maybe this'll address that.
We don't know how long Noesi will pitch in Tacoma, so we can't say what the plans are for the Mariners' rotation. Erasmo Ramirez shouldn't be far off. Hisashi Iwakuma could start again, or the Mariners could re-visit the Blake Beavan statistical rice cake. Danny Hultzen has hardly blown people away as a Rainier so he'll be some time yet. The Mariners have decisions to make.
But we all always have decisions to make. Even when you think you're completely free, there are decisions you need to make or that you could make for the future. We are always deciding. It's one of the things that separates us from the rocks.