Either one could get the nod
With the top four in the Seattle Mariners rotation looking like they are already set, the 5th and final rotation spot might be more of a battle than assumed coming into spring training in Peoria, Arizona.
Blake Beavan, after getting a call up last year, has already had experience in the big leagues, and especially against the American League West, which will be a major chunk of the Mariners opposing games this season.
With a knowledge of the division, I think this has to give Beavan the upper hand in the race for a rotation spot. So far that experience has played out good for him.
In two outings Beavan has posted a 1-0 record, pitching 6.1 innings, and posting a 1.42 ERA.
I think after his two starts, manager Eric Wedge has to be thinking of giving Beavan a shot once the season opens.
Wedge does have quite a few options for the 5th spot though, but I think it will come down to Beavan or Noesi.
A lot of fans will want to see Hector Noesi in the rotation mainly because of the deal that brought him here. Michael Pineda was a huge arm for the Mariners, and had a ton of upswing on his career too. For the fans, they will want to see that void filled immediately, and for the guy they got from Pineda.
After going 2-2 in 56.1 innings pitched for the Yankees last year, Noesi is still a little green around the gills, as major league pitchers are concerned.
Noesi has also been effective so far this spring. So far he has pitched 5 innings, giving up only one run. So indeed Eric Wedge will have some tough decisions come opening day.
Though Kevin Millwood has looked impressive so far, Iwukuma has left a lot to be desired in his first season in America. When it’s all said and done, the only two spots that are cemented are the 1-2 in Fernandez and Vargas.
Who knows, come another couple weeks, and the conversations might be “who will stay, Millwood or Iwukuma.”
Right now, I think that Millwood and Iwukuma are both safe. Millwood because of his veteran leadership he will provide, and Iwukuma just because he was a high profile free agent signing.
If I had to pick the rotation right now though, it would be Felix Hernandez, Jason Vargas, Kevin Millwood, Hishashi Iwukuma, and Hector Noesi, with Beavan getting a spot in the bullpen as long relief help.
This does look like the best rotation the M’s have had coming into opening day in quite a while though.
I am excited to see the new arms, as well as the defense keep the M’s in a few more ball games this year.
Now only if we can score some runs, we will be okay.