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.