Here’s my best guess at Mariners final roster
The use of Hisashi Iwakuma out of the bullpen on Tuesday provided a glimpse into one possible solution for a difficult quandry, given that if he’s kept in the rotation, Blake Beavan or Kevin Millwood would have been left out and both have pitched well this spring.
The Mariners won’t announce their roster cutdown to 30 until Thursday morning and don’t have to designate the chosen 25-man Opening Day roster until next week in Tokyo.
But here’s how I think things could play out:
Starting pitchers: Felix Hernandez, Jason Vargas, Hector Noesi, Blake Beavan, Kevin Millwood.
Bullpen: Brandon League, Tom Wilhelmsen, Shawn Camp, Shawn Kelley, George Sherrill, Steve Delabar, Hisashi Iwakuma.
Catchers: Miguel Olivo, Jesus Montero, John Jaso.
Infielders: Justin Smoak, Dustin Ackley, Brendan Ryan, Chone Figgins, Kyle Seager, Munenori Kawasaki.
Outfielders: Ichiro Suzuki, Michael Saunders, Mike Carp, Casper Wells. (Franklin Gutierrez on 15-day DL).
Five other players will also make the trip to Japan and final decisions don’t have to all be made now. So it’ll be interesting to see what they do with Rule 5 draft pick Lucas Luetge, who has worked his way into the mix as a lefty reliever. Charlie Furbush has also had a nice camp, but he could be sent to Tacoma.
Carlos Peguero has shown his impressive power this camp, but he’s not versatile enough as a defender to fill the backup outfield role, so that likely goes to Wells. Figgins can also play some outfield if needed.
My biggest question is whether Iwakuma really can pitch out of the bullpen. He looked better on Tuesday against the Reds and I doubt the Mariners want to just release him without giving him more of a chance. But he’s a guy who needs a long time to warm up — which is why he warmed up in the fourth inning Tuesday, then sat down and then warmed up again before coming in for the sixth.
That’s one of several questions that remain to play out …