Mariners Insider

That last bullpen spot is a complicated decision

Post by Larry Larue / The News Tribune on April 1, 2009 at 8:11 am with No Comments »
April 1, 2009 8:11 am

The Mariners roster is all but set, as are most big-league rosters, but the final decision on the 24th or 25th man always comes down to more than who played well in camp.

In the Seattle bullpen, for instance, that final spot could go to any of handful of pitchers – Cesar Jimenez, Garrett Olson, Jesus Delgado, Chris Jakubauskas among them.

Clearly, Jakubauskas has pitched well enough to make the team. That doesn’t mean he will. Just as Miguel Batista probably stays because of his $9 million contract, the Mariners face losing Jimenez and Delgado, who are out of minor league options.

Do you risk an arm that intrigues you for a guy who’s had a great camp? The simplest answer is ‘yes,’ but that’s not always the baseball answer.

GM Jack Zduriencik plucked Delgado off waivers this spring, and his plus-fastball is intriguing. If you keep him, Jakubauskas goes to the minors and can be brought up later.

Similarly, the team may want to keep Jimenez for the same reason.

Pitching well in spring training can win a job. It can also win notice that wins a job later in the season. For now, Jakubauskas sits and waits while the Mariners brain trust debates issues more involved and who threw well in camp.

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