Mariners Insider

Time to play GM and manager and pick the 25-man roster

Post by Ryan Divish on March 30, 2009 at 2:22 am with No Comments »
March 30, 2009 2:22 am

Well, it was an interesting day and the Mariners have moved a little closer to the 25 players they’ll be taking with them to Minneapolis for opening day against the Twins.

A few things on the moves …

&bull I’m holding out judgment on the Brandon Morrow decision to go to closer. Initially, my thought it was a colossal waste of a top pick and categorical screw-up from the very start by the previous regime starting with former GM Bill Bavasi and former manager Mike Hargrove. Look I have nothing against drafting Morrow, his potential seemed limitless. Sure he’s not Tim Lincecum, but really he could have been and should have been more than he is now – a guy choosing to go back to closer after lobbying to start from the moment he was drafted. The wishy-washy way in which Bavasi and Hargrove handled Morrow’s progress – first allowing Hargrove to even put him in the bullpen that first year – is a reason why the Mariners are sitting at this juncture. If he was drafted as a starter, then that’s what he should have been from the very beginning. No matter what he did in his first spring training. I understand Morrow’s desire to go back. But if he’d been a starter from the beginning I doubt he would be looking to do this.

Ask yourself this question: If the Mariners knew that Morrow would be a closer not a starter for his career, would they have taken him before Lincecum?

I guess if you’re looking for a bright spot in it, Wakamatsu isn’t forced to choose from Miguel Batista or David Aardsma or Make Lowe as closer.

&bull The situation with Jeff Clement going back to Tacoma isn’t surprising. We mentioned a few times that he was playing his way into forcing Wakamatsu to make this decision. The problem is Clement will go and dominate Triple A pitching, and the Mariners will not be any closer to knowing if he’s a legitimate major league hitter. And if Rob Johnson is the back-up catcher, how much does he play? Will it be like what Jamie Burke had to do two years ago, start about once every seven days? Realistically, that that will stunt the considerable progress Johnson has made in the last two years. And then there is the question of Burke. They certainly don’t need three catchers on the roster now, to they? They could use Johnson as a pinch runner and other things, but three catchers seems excessive especially when one of them isn’t getting significant at-bats at DH. Also what does this do for Adam Moore’s progress? Catching coordinator Roger Hansen talked about the need for Moore to be challenged in Triple A this season, if he goes back to AA it won’t happen.

&bull Tyler Walker was a casualty of his own inability to stay healthy. He seemed pretty sure that he would make the team, but you don’t make a team if you don’t pitch well, or in his case, don’t pitch at all.

&bull Chris Burke will go to Triple A Tacoma. He has never proven to be a legitimate hitter in the big leagues, but the Mariners have kept similar non-hitting utility men around before.

Ok, now let’s get to the good part….

At the bottom of this post is a list of the remaining players in major league camp. The task for GM Jack Zduriencik and manager Don Wakamatsu is to cut it down to 25 players, that feature the right mixture of everything: starters, bench players, pitchers, relievers and now a closer. Sound easy, it isn’t. Remember you also have to take into account contracts, meaning Carlos Silva and Kenji Johjima make the team because the Mariners are paying them AIG bonus-type money for their services. Don’t forget about injuries or spring training performance.

So give it a try, build your 25-man roster. Think about your lineups, your rotation, your bench, your bullpen, and them post them in the comments section. I’ll do the same.

Here’s my personal 25-man roster …

Projected lineup

RF Ichiro

CF Franklin Gutierrez

DH Ken Griffey Jr.

3B Adrian Beltre

1B Russell Branyan

2B Jose Lopez

C Kenji Johjima

LF Endy Chavez

SS Yuniesky Betancourt

* Notes: Obviously there will be platooning with Balentien and Sweeney replacing Branyan and Chavez when the M’s face tough left-handed pitchers. I honestly have no idea how much they will play Griffey in the outfield, which is why I didn’t put together lineups vs. lefties and righties.


IF Ronny Cedeno

IF/DH Mike Sweeney

OF Wlad Balentien

C Rob Johnson

* Notes: Sweeney’s hot bat of late and his overall clubhouse presence will force Chris Shelton to Triple A Tacoma. Mike Morse is gone. He’s out of Triple A options and probably won’t clear waivers. The M’s will lose Corona because he’s a Rule V guy unless they make a trade for him. But signing Chris Burke and keeping Chris Woodward might make him an afterthought. If Johjima is going to play often, sitting Johnson on the bench is worthless as I mentioned above. Jamie Burke could do that. Which would leave Johnson, Clement and Adam Moore in the minors. They need to trade somebody. But Burke may want a chance to look around and hook on with another team and ask for his unconditional release.


RHP Felix Hernandez

LHP Erik Bedard

RHP Carlos Silva

LHP Jarrod Washburn

LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith

* Notes: I don’t like having Silva at the three, but Washburn prefers not to pitch the game after a left-hander. Rowland-Smith isn’t bothered by matters like that.


RHP Chris Jakubauskas (long reliever)

RHP David Aardsma

RHP Roy Corcoran

RHP Mark Lowe

RHP Shawn Kelley

RHP Brandon Morrow (closer)

LHP Cesar Jimenez

* Notes:
Tyler Johnson would be my situational lefty instead of Jimenez, who actually isn’t very good against lefties. But Jimenez is pretty versatile and showed he can pitch multiple innings. Kelley was the most consistent pitcher in the spring. I take Jakubauskas over Miguel Batista just because of personal preference. Batista has been bad this spring and seems displeased with his overall role. Eat the 9 million and go with a youngster. Even lefty Garrett Olson might be better in the long relief role. But my gut says they’ll keep Batista and I’ll be banging my head off the table in the press box about three times a week.



45 Bedard, Erik LHP

31 Feierabend, Ryan^^ LHP

37 Jimenez, Cesar LHP

58 Johnson, Tyler* LHP

54 Lugo, Jose LHP

49 Olson, Garrett LHP

18 Rowland-Smith, Ryan LHP

56 Washburn, Jarrod LHP

53 Aardsma, David RHP

43 Batista, Miguel RHP

48 Corcoran, Roy RHP

33 Cordero, Chad* RHP

67 Delgado, Jesus RHP

34 Hernandez, Felix RHP

71 Jakubauskas, Chris* RHP

66 Kelley, Shawn* RHP

57 Lowe, Mark RHP

26 Messenger, Randy* RHP

35 Morrow, Brandon RHP

52 Silva, Carlos RHP


15 Burke, Jamie* C

2 Johjima, Kenji C

32 Johnson, Rob C


29 Beltre, Adrian INF

7 Betancourt, Yuniesky INF

30 Branyan, Russell INF

3 Cedeno, Ronny INF

1 Corona, Reegie INF

4 Lopez, Jose INF

13 Shelton, Chris* INF

5 Sweeney, Mike* INF

6 Woodward, Chris* INF

0 Chris Burke INF/OF


25 Balentien, Wladimir OF

10 Chavez, Endy OF

24 Griffey Jr., Ken OF

21 Gutierrez, Franklin OF

12 Morse, Mike OF

51 Suzuki, Ichiro OF

61 Wilson, Mike* OF

* non-roster invitee

^^ 60-Day DL

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