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Rotation Depth

Whether or not he turns out to be this year's Aaron Sele or this year's Damian Moss has yet to be seen, but for what it's worth, the Mariners have signed the weathered remains of Kevin Appier to a minor league contract. A man who has the right arm of a med school cadaver, Appier hasn't seen significant action since August of 2003, and is coming off a year spent rehabbing his throwing elbow.

Before getting hurt, Appier was one of the best pitchers in the American League, but then 1998 happened, he tore his labrum, and everything went south. A big bounceback 2001 campaign in New York bought him some more time, but two years later his luck ran out and he found himself making emergency starts for the Royals. Since then, Appier has retired twice and thrown a total of four Major League innings. Nevertheless, he's determined to give it one last try, and after a busy offseason of tryouts he's settled on the Mariners, presumably because they like his veteran guile and he likes their crappy rotation.

If Appier's stats pre-double retirement mean anything, then the M's (or, hopefully, the Rainiers) will be getting a flyball pitcher who misses a bat every now and then while having occasional problems finding the strike zone. Which, I suppose, is what you should expect from a guy who's still clinging to what used to be a tremendous splitter since his fastball has dipped below 90. If his arm is feeling as good as his agent says it is, he probably wouldn't be terrible, but the upside is rather limited. Still, this is a team that needs all the 6th starters it can get its hands on, so taking a flier on Kevin Appier after the Rangers made a similar move with Brian Anderson isn't a bad idea. If it works, you've got a functional and determined veteran starter to push Joel and Gil, and if it doesn't, whatever, you did a good deed in giving the guy another shot. And hey, in the meantime, autograph seekers at Cheney Stadium will probably be ecstatic to have a guy they've actually heard of.

Why Kevin Appier, you ask?

Why not?