As it stands currently, the decision of which pitcher gets replaced in the Mariners starting rotation when Cliff Lee comes back will be made April 30th, which just happens to be the day of his first start. Going into writing this post, I wanted to show why Doug Fister should be the one who loses his spot, because everyone is so high on him right now…..as it turns out, it is one tough task to discount The Fister.
The choice Wak will have to make is between Doug Fister, Jason Vargas, or Ian Snell. On the surface, it’s a no brainer: Ian Snell has had a much tougher time pitching this season, so we send him to the pen so as not to lose him. Digging in a little deeper, this may be the right call based on more than just a surface level glance. I am going to go out on a limb and assume all three guys would struggle in unfriendly ball parks (with Vargas most likely being a little more successful), so I am going to base my thoughts on how they do and will pitch in Safeco.
Doug Fister is truly built to pitch in Safeco Field. The guy is a ground ball pitcher, and with that defense behind him in a bigger than average park he has been and stands to be very productive at home. The starts he has had this year have been fantastic, and I think it has made this decision all the harder. He is a tougher nut to crack projection-wise, because his big league body of work is just too small a sample-size to really gain any substantial information from. Moving on to Snell and Vargas….. These two are similar statistically: they both give up more fly balls than ground balls, they throw similar pitches at a similar frequency (with Vargas having the benefit of a true “out pitch”), and they both project to win about 8 games this season. Snell has more heat on his fastball (and in my opinion has a higher upside), but is more volatile. So, based on these facts I choose……crap.
I have truly failed in my intention of presenting a clear-cut pitcher to drop. I have no more idea what to do than I did an hour ago. If I were in a situation where I had to make the call right now or someone would shoot my cats, the cats would die; not just because I couldn’t make a decision, but because I WOULDN’T make a decision – those little bastards just love to pee on the carpet and on my clothes, so go ahead, shoot ’em. A friend much smarter than I suggested a sort of “rotating door” starter position, where the right guy for the job is called in based upon the opposition…. and that works for me. As she said, the Mariners are all about “outside the box” thinking, so why not? I know I was only going to focus on how they would do at Safeco, but the idea of the flexible rotation has me daydreaming of home-game-only pitching Fister, who relies so heavily on our fantastic defense and on Safeco field which helps him out a ton, and while on the road, choosing between Vargas and Snell based on the opponent as a temporary solution. All in all, this is an awesome problem to have, because we’ll be plugging Cliff Lee into the rotation and getting to see the monster that is the best one-two-punch in baseball start to devour townspeople and what not.
Of course, we will most likely be revisiting this when Bedard gets back, so this about as temporary as temporary gets. To conclude this arduous journey, I have accepted the idea that was presented to me before I really even starting looking into it. Sweet waste of time.
Also, to anyone out there who might know someone who is into the whole “make a decision or I shoot your cats” type of thing, please have them email me….. those jerks have got to go.