Seattle Mariners rumors give Jon Garland and Jeremy Bonderman a strong shot at making the starting rotation by Opening Day 2013. The reality, though, is that the front office has some very tough choices ahead. Coming into the games of Thursday (March 14), both veteran starting pitchers have looked pretty good at times in Spring Training. Whether that has been enough to warrant a spot in the starting rotation is a tough question though.
Garland has started three spring games, going six innings and allowing just one run during that time. He has given up only five hits, but has also walked four batters to post a WHIP of 1.50. His 1.50 ERA and the .227 batting average opponents have posted against him tells a slightly better story.
Bonderman has also pitched six inning over three games, but he didn't start out the spring very well. In his first two appearances he gave up five runs over three innings, but in a March 7 appearance against the Oakland Athletics, he allows only one run over three innings. In those three innings he also only threw 15 pitches, which is a pretty amazing statistic in spring.
If it were a head-to-head competition, Garland would be clearly leading the way right now, but that isn't the only factor that has to be taken into account. There are also five other starting pitchers that could deserve a spot in the rotation and that doesn't even include the rookies shining down in Arizona.
It is already assumed that Felix Hernandez, Joe Saunders, and Hisashi Iwakuma will take the first three slots in the starting rotation. Coming into camp, Erasmo Ramirez and Blake Beavan were also considered to be strong candidates. In his first six innings this spring, Ramirez has given up only four hits, struck out five batters, and hasn't allowed a run. He is clearly ready to become a permanent resident in the rotation.
Beavan has found mixed results, pitching eight innings over three games so far and posting a 5.63 ERA in that time. He has struggled at times and looked brilliant in others, but any struggles open the door for either Garland or Bonderman to step through. The inherent problem is that Beavan is better suited to be a starting pitcher and shouldn't be sent to the bullpen. It puts the front office in a position to demote him or trade him. If Beavan were to get demoted, though, he might not start again with all of the starting pitcher depth working its way up through the system.
With just about two weeks left in Spring Training for the Seattle Mariners, it doesn't look like both Jon Garland and Jeremy Bonderman have a spot on the roster. One of them would be a cheap option to go with for a short while, but it could also kill the confidence of a young pitcher like Blake Beavan or Erasmo Ramirez. It raises the stakes for every start from here until the main roster cuts for the guys trying to cement a spot on the 25-man roster.
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