Don’t forget to check out our daily Around the Blogosphere segement, to get an idea about some of the interesting posts out there on the M’s. Also, just a reminder, we’ll have Geoff Baker Live! coming up tonight at 6:30 p.m. PT. Our final show of the week.
We’ve told you since camp opened for M’s pitchers and catchers that several non-roster arms have a shot at making the team. There has been talk about Nate Robertson making the starting rotation. But it’s in the bullpen where some non-roster pitchers have multiple spots looking wide open.
In this morning’s paper (and last night’s Geoff Baker Live! show) we introduced you to tattoo king Justin Miller, vying for a middle relief job. But a little closer to the back end, you’ve also got Chris Ray and Manny Delcarmen — both of whom could wind up with a closer or set-up role.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge reiterated today that he’s very impressed with the quality of the non-roster players assembled.
“I think we’ve got a fantastic collection of non-roster guys in here,” he said. “Really good arms with some experience.”
I asked Wedge whether he has the flexibility to carry more than the usual one or two non-roster guys north to start the season.
“We do,” he said. “I mean, yeah. When you talk about the number of spots that are open in our bullpen — obviously we’ve got a couple of spots that are open in the rotation as well — but with the number of spots that are open in our bullpen, that’s a real possibility.
“It’s a great opportunity for them,” he said of the non-roster players. “They’re smart. That’s why they’re here. And ultimately, these young kids are going to get a great look too. I think, when it comes right down to it, we’ll work all of it against each other. Because — you’ll hear me talk about it — depth is such an important thing. We know we’re probably not going to have the depth that we’d ultimately like to have. That we will have in future years. But we’re going to do the best we can when we break camp this year.”
Putting non-roster guys on the major league roster is one thing, since room can always be made by shipping players with minor league options back to Class AAA.
But putting them on the 40-man roster is another matter. If Wedge and company carry more than a couple of guys north, the team eventually will risk losing a more-coveted minor leaguer one the list of guys being taken off the 40-man roster starts to grow.
Most teams have a player or two they can dump from the roster without worrying too much about losing them. But get beyond that and it starts cutting into your minor league system.
“Those will be the decisions that we’ll have to make,” Wedge said. “I mean, if you’re looking to try to take your best guys, those are just some of the hardcore decisions you’re going to have to make. I think that we’re really going to have some difficult decisions.
“Difficult decisions this time of year are a good thing. But when it comes to the difficult decisions having an effect on the roster, that’s not a good thing. So, we’ll have to weigh all that against each other. That’s some of the things I’m talking about with regard to weighing it all against each other. Not just with regards to depth, but also from a roster standpoint.”
Wedge said he did have a good conversation with Milton Bradley — along with some other players — after he arrived here today. Bradley and Wedge haven’t worked together since they were with the Cleveland Indians back in 2003.
The team’s marketing department arrived here today to begin laying the prep work for their television spots, featuring Mariners players. The commercials tend to be a huge hit with fans every year.
Filming is set to begin next Monday.