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Mariners Make More Roster Moves

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I was intending to write that Texas Rangers season preview and then move on to other, non-basebally things. But the Mariners had the nerve to finalize their roster while I was wrapping up, so now I'll talk about that, too, but not because I want to. I am going to give this post 60 percent of my usual amount of attention in protest.

Here are the details. Now I will review those details in full. The Mariners took 30 players to Japan, leaving Kevin Millwood behind for, I don't know, hunting? Probably hunting. They needed to narrow to a 28-man roster for opening day, including Millwood, even though he's in the US (hunting). As such, the Mariners are making the following moves:

  • Carlos Peguero optioned to Tacoma
  • Chance Ruffin optioned to Tacoma
  • Guillermo Quiroz reassigned to minor league camp

That's 30, minus three, plus one. 28! Additionally, Millwood, Munenori Kawasaki, and Erasmo Ramirez needed to be added to the 40-man roster, so that's happening, too. Can't have players on the active roster if they aren't on the 40-man roster.

You caught that I included Erasmo Ramirez in there. That's not a mistake - he's made the team, at least for two games. Ramirez is just 21 and has seven starts of triple-A experience, but he's a strike-thrower, and coaching staffs love a strike-thrower. There's confidence on the Mariners' part that Ramirez is ready to retire Major League hitters, and he probably is ready to retire most of them. As Dave writes, don't worry too much that Ramirez is going to the bullpen. Nobody thinks that Ramirez is a reliever long-term. The Mariners are just easing him in.

For those of you who'll bring up the whole service time thing, yes, this stands to affect Ramirez the way it affected Michael Pineda a season ago. If Ramirez stays in the Majors, he'll be under team control through 2017, instead of 2018 if the Mariners waited a little while. But for one thing, Ramirez is a young pitcher so you can't count on the long-term. For a second thing, Ramirez might still return to the minors yet. And for a third thing, Ramirez's ceiling isn't super high so there's less worry about the eventual financial consequences.

The other bit of news here (sorry Guillermo) is that Casper Wells has officially won a bench job over Carlos Peguero. It seems crazy to believe, but there was an internal push for Peguero, and he did stand some chance. It's not a coincidence that Peguero has gotten so many looks. But ultimately Wells can play center field while Peguero can barely play Checkers so the Mariners made what I think is the right decision. It wouldn't make any sense to have Peguero and Mike Carp both on this same roster. Peguero could re-emerge later on, but he'll report to Tacoma for now.

Now, three players on that 28-man roster are designated as ineligible for the two games against the A's in Japan. Those three players are Millwood, Hisashi Iwakuma, and Hector Noesi. All three will have to be added to the 25-man roster when the Mariners return stateside, so more moves are coming. Alex Liddi is an obvious demotion after these two games. Steve Delabar is a pretty obvious demotion. And then some people are guessing Charlie Furbush. It'd be weird for the Mariners to have three lefties in the bullpen. Larry Stone ventured a guess that Iwakuma could be DL'd. Maybe Ramirez goes back to Tacoma for some reason. I'd say Furbush is the likeliest to go, but it's not guaranteed.

Actually, none of this is guaranteed. The Mariners announced these roster moves, but nothing's actually official until Wednesday. But I've written enough so I'm going to stop writing now and do something else.