Seattle Mariners starting rotation questions for 2014 aren't getting easier to answer. Roenis Elias is making a push for a 2014 starting rotation nod, putting together another impressive outing on Saturday (March 22) against the Colorado Rockies. He allowed just four hits and two runs over 5 1/3 innings with two walks and four strikeouts. The two runs game on a home run, showing how close he was to not even allowing the Rockies to score.
Elias and his impressive 2.04 ERA in Spring Training has thrust his name into the hat when it comes to figuring out the rest of the rotation for the 2014 MLB season. Felix Hernandez, Erasmo Ramirez, and James Paxton seem to be the three leading candidates, with two players needed to replace Hisashi Iwakuma and top prospect Taijuan Walker while they recover from injuries. There is also no guarantee that Ramirez has that spot just yet, even though the odds are heavily in his favor.
As for the rest of the players battling for a spot on the 2014 Seattle Mariners starting rotation, they include Roenis Elias, Blake Beavan and veteran non-roster invitees Scott Baker and Randy Wolf. Baker and Wolf would need to be added to the 40-man roster to get on the team, meaning another player would have to be traded or designated for assignment in order for it to work. With several pitchers doing well in Spring Training, the front office has some really difficult decisions to make.
Erasmo Ramirez has made four starts this spring and has been exceptional for the Mariners. He has posted a 3-0 record with a 0.96 ERA and 0.91 WHIP over 18 2/3 innings. It looks like he has earned one of the spots in the rotation and could be a secret weapon in 2014.
Roenis Elias has appeared in five games (including two starts) for the Mariners this spring. Through 17 2/3 innings of work he has a 2.04 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. He does have eight walks in that time, but has a 3-0 record and provides a good option as a left-handed starting pitcher for the rotation. He is a long-shot because he isn't on the 40-man roster, but the team could be ready to take that shot.
Scott Baker With Cubs
Scott Baker was signed to a minor league contract with a Spring Training invite to try to make the club. He has had recent struggles, though, possibly putting himself at risk of being cut. Through four starts he has a 6.75 ERA and 1.92 WHIP over 12 innings. He also has just one strikeout, showing that he might just not be ready to return to a starting role since coming back from surgery.
Randy Wold With Brewers
Randy Wolf is also in Spring Training on a minor league deal with the Mariners. He has made four starts thus far, posting a 4.15 ERA and 1.31 WHIP in 13 innings of work. The team likely is pinning a lot on his final start of the spring and that could be where the ultimate decision on whether he makes the roster gets made. In those 13 innings he has given up four home runs, which is something that might be of concern.
Blake Beavan has now appeared in five Spring Training games, including four of them as a starter. He has a 4.91 ERA, 1.36 WHIP and 10 earned runs over 18 1/3 innings of work. His numbers took a huge hit in his last start, so he likely needs to post a really impressive outing to wrap things up in Peoria. If not, he could still make it in the bullpen when Opening Day arrives.