With the Mariner rotation and bullpen seemingly taking turns melting down this month, it was a matter of time before the team decided to shake things up. Despite the recent swoon 2016 still has far too much promise to allow Wade Miley to get pummeled every day, and to give anything but the lowest of leverage innings to Steve Johnson. With the team set to start a three game series in Boston, against the best offense in baseball, the time was now:
Roster moves pic.twitter.com/YNaQTeAZ65— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) June 17, 2016
Now, you are smart, and observant, so you're probably saying to yourself "Wait, Jonathan Aro and Dave Rollins aren't starters. Wade Miley is a starter. Are the Mariners going to proceed with a wild and revolutionary concept towards pitching assignments? This is awesome! I've been waiting years for this!"
No, I'm sorry, you don't get to have that fun. What you do get is Adrian Sampson, who as we wrote earlier is getting called up, and it sounds like he'll start tomorrow:
Adrian Sampson down on the field playing catch with the bullpen catcher Fleming Baez. So we know who will be starting for Miley— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) June 17, 2016
Now, neither Aro nor Rollins (or Sampson for that matter) figure to be exceptional. The Mariners pitching is pretty firmly in survival mode, at least for the rest of this road trip. They need arms, even if they are not great arms. Miley has been an unqualified wreck almost all year, and Steve Johnson is, um, not good, so there isn't a huge bar to clear here.
The team is calling Miley's injury a "left shoulder impingement" which is possible, but if I had to guess this is the case of the team finding a reason to skip a few starts for a player that, while very likable, is running an FIP more than a run higher than last year's, which was in Fenway Park.
We don't know know who is leaving to make way for Sampson tomorrow. One thought is that either Rollins or Aro could be with the team just for today, and then be sent down after tonight's game. That's a quick trip back and forth across country, but presumably it comes with an open bar and a first class ticket.
The Mariners' pitching has been quite bad over the past month, and it's good to see the team shaking things up and acknowledging that a change was necessary is good to see. None of these moves realistically seem much more than a bridge between whatever was, and whatever will be. But without these callups an exhausted bullpen in Fenway had about a 50/50 chance of seeing a position player pitching which, while fun, is not as much fun as winning.
IN ADDITION to all of this, I would like to call your attention to the following bit of news:
#Rangers RHP Tom Wilhelmsen has cleared waivers and turned down assignment to Round Rock & has elected to be free agent.— Stefan Stevenson (@StevensonFWST) June 17, 2016
Now, I know what you're saying. You are saying "Nathan, Tom Wilhelmsen has the highest FIP of any pitcher in baseball with a minimum of 20 IP, by more than a run. Have you ever even heard of FIP, Nathan? Do you understand that means Tom Wilhelmsen is bad?!"
Well boy let me tell you, dear reader, I have heard of FIP and I did know that Tom Wilhelmsen has been bad, so rest easy there. But I still desperately want Jerry Dipoto to snatch him up, and my argument is based on four points:
- Tom Wilhelmsen is now free, and as recently as last year was an effective reliever for the Seattle Mariners. His velocity is down only slightly from last year, and we aren't talking about making him a set up guy or a closer or anything. We're talking about him not being Steve Johnson (sorry, Steve, you seem like a good dude). Get him in here, and see if they find something they can fix.
- Tom Wilhelmsen is a chill-ass dude, with a fun backstory, and I'm quite fond of him. He dances, he pretend bartends in Safeco, he's a fun interview. I like him, and I'd enjoy the team more with him around.
- With Patrick Kivlehan now back comfortably in the fold, the Mariners re-signing Tom Wilhelmsen would put us a James Jones DFA from the Mariners acquiring Leonys Martin for a bruise on Chris Iannetta's rib cage. I am a small man, and the Rangers are quite good. I will take schadenfreude, if it's the only food at the table.