When the Seattle Mariners officially signed Raul Ibanez, the corresponding roster move was the designation of D.J. Mitchell for assignment, which forced us to write about Mitchell for basically the first time. What that did was establish a precedent. Once we wrote about Mitchell one time, it set us up to write about Mitchell again, in the event that he got claimed, or got traded, or got released, or got mugged, or cleared waivers. In this way, precedents are dangerous in a work environment -- they can lead to more work. This is an example of more work that could've been avoided. D.J. Mitchell cleared waivers.
#Mariners RHP D.J. Mitchell has cleared waivers and been outrighted to AAA Tacoma. He was designated for assignment on December 26.— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) January 4, 2013
So the Mariners didn't lose D.J. Mitchell in order to add Raul Ibanez. It always feels like a bonus when a player clears waivers; you still have the player, and now the team has less of a commitment to him. There are limited 40-man roster spots, so in a lot of cases it's preferable to have a guy not on the 40-man roster. The alternate viewpoint is that everybody wants pitching and D.J. Mitchell went by entirely unclaimed. What does that tell us about how the rest of the league views D.J. Mitchell? What does that tell us about D.J. Mitchell?
Probably nothing we didn't already know or assume. This makes me wonder about things from the player's perspective. For Mitchell, he cleared waivers, so he gets to stick around in Tacoma. That's where he finished 2012, and that's where he'll begin 2013, barring injury. That's convenient. That might make Mitchell happy. But then, is that offset and then some by Mitchell knowing that nobody wanted him? He might understand that a lot of teams have full 40-man rosters at this point, and this is when teams try to slip guys through waivers knowing that other teams will be reluctant to make claims, but now Mitchell knows that not one single team wanted to exchange one single player from its 40-man roster for D.J. Mitchell, who is 25 and a starting pitcher who isn't awful. This has to be tough on a player's self-confidence, and I do honestly wonder how a player like Mitchell might process this news. I'm not interested in what a player would say he feels like. I'm interested in what a player would actually feel like.
So this is bittersweet news for D.J. Mitchell. It's purely sweet news for the Mariners, assuming they wanted Mitchell to stick around more than they didn't. It's also conceivably awkward for Mitchell to remain with an organization that just left him out in a bowl on the porch, but okay, I'll grant that I might be overthinking all this. I probably shouldn't give this more thought than D.J. Mitchell has.
Last year, with the Rainiers, Mitchell threw 26 percent of his pitches when ahead in the count, and 25 percent of his pitches when behind in the count. Also with the Rainiers, he posted a 2.96 ERA. Some people believe that people don't change, and maybe that's true, about people. It isn't true about ERAs. ERAs do change. D.J. Mitchell's ERA is about to. Guess in which direction!