You just knew the Mariners would have to start making a bunch of daily cuts, given that the regular season roster needs to be set two weeks from today.
And the team responded today by cutting four pitchers. The bullpen situation cleared up a bit as the team optioned Dan Cortes (photo above) to Class AAA while assigning Manny Delcarmen to minor league camp.
Charlie Haeger and Chris Smith were also sent to minor league camp, leaving the M’s with 47 players on a roster that needs to be down to 25 just 14 days from now. Clearly, some decision-making is needed soon.
Cortes was plagued by wildness this spring, just as he was in a late season call-up last year. Delcarmen was one of the veterans the team had hoped could land a spot, but was outshone early and often by other late-inning candidates.
Haeger, as we told you a few days ago, was no longer in consideration for a starting job because he had not thrown enough innings. The knuckleballer has battled health issues at camp and was never really a bullpen consideration either. M’s manager Eric Wedge said early in camp that he’s partial to knucklballers being starters and it appears that consideration still holds true.
Smith was always a longshot and it’s no surprise that he’s in the minors, where he’ll provide the depth the team was always looking for in his case.
The winners so far after today?
Josh Lueke still has a shot at making the team. So do Chris Ray and Denny Bautista.
Oh yeah, that Michael Pineda guy, too. As we told you, the final rotation spot was already down to just him and Luke French. Haeger was no longer in consideration and while David Pauley might start for the team at some point, it won’t be to begin the season.
Today’s moves merely confirm that. Pauley is still being looked at as a reliever, but the starting job is Pineda’s to lose and if he does lose it, French will get the spot.
Justin Miller is still hanging in there for a bullpen role as is Aaron Laffey.