Mariners Insider

Mariners Q&A: Paxton timetable, spending limits, Almonte atop the order…and more

Post by Bob Dutton / The News Tribune on April 24, 2014 at 2:48 pm with No Comments »
April 24, 2014 4:41 pm
Why is Abraham Almonte a fixture atop the Mariners' lineup? That's one of your questions in our latest long-form twitter Q&A exchange. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Why is Abraham Almonte a fixture atop the Mariners’ lineup? That’s one of your questions in our latest long-form twitter Q&A exchange. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)


An open date Thursday for the Mariners prompted a twitter call for participation in a long-form, question-and-answer session.

Here we go:


@q13foxwebguy: If you had to put money down, when will Paxton be back in rotation? And yes or no on Walker returning this year.

   We should know a little more on James Paxton after he begins playing catch Friday, but when I heard strained back muscle (specifically, a strained latissimus dorsi), I immediately thought six weeks minimum. Since it occurred April 8, that would be latter May.

I see that as a best-case scenario.

But with a starting pitcher, building endurance often extends the process. So I’d be surprised if he’s back in the rotation before June 1. It might be a little earlier, but it could also be longer…a lot longer.

Again, we should have a better idea after he’s tested that muscle by playing catch on a few occasions.

As for Taijuan Walker, everything still suggests the Mariners are just being extra careful. Barring another setback, he should make rapid progress in his recovery from a sore shoulder.

Remember: He was already stretched out to a starter’s endurance before this latest problem. I wouldn’t be shocked it he’s ready by mid-May…if he avoids further problems. Yes, that’s a big if.


@jgoochy17: Bobby D! Any insider news, legit predictions or expectations for @Mariners before trade deadline? Were lookin’ in need of bats 

They’re looking for a bat. They’ve never stopped looking. That doesn’t mean they’ll overpay for someone. And before someone asks, they don’t appear much interested in Kendrys Morales.


@yakyunightowl: If Sunday in Vegas with the Rainiers goes well, is it a safe bet that last spot belongs to ‘Kuma?

Hisashi Iwakuma goes into the rotation as soon as the Mariners deem him ready. The tentative plan he will pitch in a rehab start Sunday for Triple-A Tacoma at Las Vegas (Mets), and then activated to start May 2 at Houston.

Now…that’s not in stone. If Iwakuma’s outing Sunday raises any red flags, the timetable will be adjusted.


@paterfamilias_5: Brandon Maurer?

He can solidify his spot in the rotation by pitching well Sunday against Texas in the weekend series finale. He was dominant last Sunday at Miami through four innings before his lack of endurance surfaced in the fifth.

Maurer has been under-the-radar this season because of some minor back issues in spring training. But he’s got stuff and, after a rough initiation at times last year as a rookie, he’s got some experience. The potential is there.


@moose57579: loyd said the mariners are at their spending limit, the new president said resources would be available , who is right?

This is pure speculation because the Mariners, like other clubs, don’t open their books for public inspection. That said, given what’s known about their finances, it’s hard to believe they don’t have significant payroll available.

But…having money available, and spending that money on what’s available…that’s a different matter.

For example: everything suggests the Mariners had sufficient resources to make significant bids to sign Morales and Nelson Cruz in an off-season when they knew they needed to upgraded their attack.

That they chose not to fork over the money required to sign those players wasn’t necessarily a plead-poor financial approach. It was more of a baseball-evaluation decision. (And, sure, you can still disagree with it.)

But unless you believe you pay whatever it takes to get a player — and that rarely happens — the price/payoff is part of the evaluation process. Often a club decides to save its money for someone better down the line.

The problem there is obvious: That someone doesn’t always come along right away or when you need them. Does that make the Mariners cheap? You decide.

But the deals for Felix Hernandez and Robinson Cano, a pair of perennial All-Stars, suggest the Mariners are willing to pay big bucks when they believe a player is worth it.

It’s one thing to overpay the market for star talent. Often in the past, the Mariners overpaid the market for mediocrity (or to be kinder, for players who aren’t All-Stars). They seem less willing to do that now.

That unwillingness doesn’t mean money isn’t available for the right guy.


@borris_g: why Almonte is still leading off and playing every day? At least he could get a breather (in top of the day off)

Manager Lloyd McClendon believes all that separates Abraham Almonte from being an impact player is playing time. And as McClendon likes to point out, he has the pencil when the lineup card gets filled out.

So Almonte plays.


@christopherkai2: With Hart looking like he can handle RF any chance we see Montero in the next couple weeks? Guy mashes LHP

Next couple of weeks? For one thing, I’d expect the Mariners to continue to ease Hart into duty as a right fielder. It’s likely he’ll serve, more often than not, as the designated hitter for the foreseeable future.

But if Jesus Montero keeps hitting at Triple-A Tacoma, and if the Mariners continue to struggle to score runs, it’s hard to believe he won’t get a summons at some point.


@bjoe87: Would the #Mariners take Butler off the #Royals hands for a promising prospect?

Start with this: The Mariners’ lineup, more than anything else, needs an impact right-handed bat. Butler is an impact right-handed bat and is likely to be available…just not right now.

Kansas City is in a go-for-it mode, and clubs that view themselves in that manner rarely trade away impact regulars unless they get an impact regular in return.

That could change if the Royals turtle and fall out of the race. And come the off-season, they are likely to be very willing to entertain offers for Butler.









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