Mariners fan favorite Ryan Rowland-Smith joins us on this edition of the podcast. Hyphen is currently pitching quite well in relief for AAA Pawtucket for the Red Sox organization, and he was kind enough to hop on a call with me to discuss a bunch of different topics. He's extremely candid, shedding some light on his departure from Seattle and his mental struggles on the mound. Take a listen as we discuss his strategy on the mound, his frustrations with the 40-man roster and waiver process, his regrets of leaving Seattle, his participation in the World Baseball Classic and what can be done to improve it, and the state of baseball in Australia.
On being off the 40-man roster at this stage in his career:
"In my situation, yes it is frustrating because every time someone will go up, I've got a staff member come over and 'well you know, he's on the roster so, up he goes.' I think ultimately at the end of the day, a team who wants to win wants to have the best players up there...at times you want to pull your hair out because 'hey, I'm doing better than that guy, but he's on the roster, he gets to go up and down.' "
On the waiver process:
"If they had some sort of structure or regulations on that....that's the one thing, in my situation it's frustrating. I don't have any options, I've been told that early on in the year, they'd have to put me through waivers to bring me down and all that, very frustrating at 30 years old and you've got three and a half years of Major League experience, and you're sitting here pitching great."
On regrets, and how things ended with Seattle:
"When I left the Mariners and they made me an offer and I turned it down, that's probably the biggest regret I have. Maybe things would have gone differently...In 2010, after I had that absolute disaster of a year, I was arbitration eligible at the end of that season. I had put a ton of pressure on myself that year and I had absolutely choked for a hundred reasons I could come up with, I still think about it. At the end of that, the Mariners made an offer, and they said 'take this or we're going to non-tender you.' And I never wanted to leave Seattle quite that way. I loved it there, absolutely loved it there. Even in 2010 when I was struggling, I loved it there because they treated me like a professional and they gave me every opportunity I could ask for. They made an offer, and I tried to sort of stick up for myself and say I think I'm worth more than that, I've had a good career. And they said take this offer or we're going to non-tender you. Sure enough, I said that I feel like I'm worth more than what you're asking, and sure enough two hours later I was actually on Twitter, and sure enough they had non-tendered me, and I was really upset because what's going to happen now? I've never been a free agent. And I signed with the Houston Astros, and that was just an absolute...just the biggest regret I have, is just not taking that and having another opportunity next spring training with the Mariners.
This goes above and beyond a normal interview. If you haven't listened to any podcasts yet, this and the one with Aaron Goldsmith are the ones to check out. There's remarkable insight here into the life of a professional baseball player that you wouldn't otherwise know.
As always, the Lookout Landing podcast is available on iTunes, or you can stream it here, or download the file directly.