A projection of the final roster, plus today’s lineup
The starting rotation appears to have sorted itself out in the final days, with Erasmo Ramirez seeing his innings reduced by a tender triceps last week and Jeremy Bonderman showing yesterday why it takes time for a guy who hasn’t pitched since 2010 and had Tommy John surgery 10 months ago to build up to 80-plus pitches.
Bonderman and Ramirez both need a little more time, which means Blake Beavan and Brandon Maurer (pictured) figure to land the Nos. 4 and 5 starter spots for now.
The other primary roster battle has been the fifth outfielder spot and all indications are that Jason Bay will land that spot. Bay is in the lineup in left field today while Wells is sitting for a second straight game, which isn’t a good sign at a time Eric Wedge wants to sharpen up the guys he’ll be going forward with starting Monday in Oakland.
If the Mariners can get something in a trade for Wells, maybe we’ll see a deal in the next few days. But lots of teams have excess outfielders so that won’t be easy. Since Wells is out of options, if he is sent down to Triple-A he’ll have to clear waivers first and I’d be surprised if he makes it through that process.
The other debate figures to be for the final bullpen spot. Unless the club changes course and decides to keep Ramirez as a long man in the ‘pen instead of sending him to Tacoma, logic seems to dictate that Lucas Luetge stays as the final reliever and third lefty. Bullpens always seem to yield some surprise, so we’ll see what happens there.
But for now, here’s how things seem likely to shake out:
Rotation: Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, Joe Saunders, Blake Beavan, Brandon Maurer.
Bullpen: Tom Wilhelmsen, Stephen Pryor, Carter Capps, Kameron Loe, Charlie Furbush, Oliver Perez, Lucas Luetge.
Catchers: Jesus Montero, Kelly Shoppach.
Infielders: Justin Smoak, Kendrys Morales, Dustin Ackley, Brendan Ryan, Kyle Seager, Robert Andino.
Outfielders: Michael Saunders, Franklin Gutierrez, Michael Morse, Raul Ibanez, Jason Bay.
Meanwhile, the club closes out its Peoria spring schedule today with a great pitcher’s matchup between Felix and the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw in a battle of Cy Young winners. That one is at 1:05 p.m. PT.
Then it’ll be Iwakuma pitching against the Cubs at 12:05 p.m. on Thursday in Mesa, followed by a travel day on Friday and then Maurer starting against the Rockies at 12:05 p.m. PT on Saturday in Salt Lake City.
All three final spring games are on 710 ESPN Seattle radio and the Saturday exhibition wih the Rockies will be televised by ROOT Sports.
The Mariners will workout in Oakland on Sunday afternoon before meeting the A’s at 7:05 p.m. on Monday for the opener. So, yeah, it really is only five days until the games get real.
Here’s today’s lineup against the Dodgers:
Franklin Gutierrez CF
Michael Saunders RF
Kendrys Morales 1B
Michael Morse DH
Jesus Montero C
Jason Bay LF
Dustin Ackley 2B
Robert Andino SS
Brad Miller 3B
Felix Hernandez RHP