April 11, 2013 at 12:12 PM
UPDATED: Mariners acquire starting pitcher Aaron Harang
ADDITIONAL NOTE 12:25 p.m.: The Mariners just announced they have traded for starting pitcher Aaron Harang. Seattle sends right-handed pitcher Steven Hensley to the Rockies and has DFA relief pitcher Kameron Loe. I’m not going to write a whole new post on this, since what I described below seems to be playing out. I would expect Blake Beavan to slide into long relief role and for Harang to take his spot in the rotation. We’ll see what the Mariners decide to do with that a little later.
Watching Blake Beavan get lit-up by the Houston Astros last night was apparently too much for the Mariners to let go without a response. They were already dealing with consecutive beatings handed to Brandon Maurer and can’t afford to give away two games out of every five before they even take the field.
So, today, according to Ken Rosenthal at FOX, the Mariners have gone out and reached a deal to acquire veteran starter Aaron Harang, 34. He was acquired by the Rockies from the Dodgers just five days ago and then immediately designated for assignment.
The Rockies were on-the-hook for $2.75 million of Harang’s salary and only acquired him so they could offload Ramon Hernandez’s $3.25 million contract to the Dodgers in that trade. Harang also has a $2 million buyout for 2014 attached to his deal, meaning he would still be guaranteed $4.75 million by the Mariners — hence the additional cash the Rockies will send over in the deal. And therefore, the need for MLB to approve the deal before it is officially announced.
The Mariners, I’m told, have also thrown in a minor league pitcher not on the 40-man roster. The Rockies only want to clear money with this move. They don’t want to have to take a player off their current 40-man roster to accomodate any trade return for Harang.
Harang was 10-10 with a 3.61 ERA in 179 2/3 innings for the Dodgers last season. He’s here to help the Mariners get through their fifth starter spots until some reinforcements are ready down on the farm. Don’t expect anything big out of Harang. At this stage of his career, he’s just an arm the team hopes gets hit less hard than the beating its young guys are taking.
Erasmo Ramirez and Jeremy Bonderman are both a distance away from being MLB-ready and the Mariners, as mentioned, can’t keep giving games away two of every five days. The closest the team has to an MLB-ready replacement in AAA is Danny Hultzen, but the team may be loathe to expose him to the big leagues too soon.
What does this mean for the future of Beavan and Brandon Maurer? Well, the Mariners could go a few ways with this.
They have already come out and stated that Maurer will get another chance to start, so you’d have to think it’s Beavan who will lose his rotation spot.
Now, the team could either send Beavan to AAA or stick him in the bullpen and use him for long relief work, given the abysmal performance in that role by the bullpen of late.
Remember, if Michael Saunders goes on the 15-day DL, the team would have a major league spot for Harang without anybody else going down. There is already a surplus of corner outfielders on this team and Jason Bay can play center in a pinch. So, the Mariners wouldn’t have to call up Endy Chavez from AAA unless something happened to Franklin Gutierrez.
They can get by for now.
What they don’t have is an open 40-man roster spot for Harang. So, somebody would have to be taken off the roster.
There are a number of candidates in AAA. At the major league level, the only candidate is relief pitcher Kameron Loe, who has given up six home runs in fewer than two weeks.
If the Mariners were to designate Loe for assignment, it would clear the roster spot for Harang and then Beavan could slide into the long relief role.
Anyhow, that’s one way of going about things. Giving up on Loe less than two weeks in seems rather harsh, especially if you liked him enough to deal away Shawn Kelley and then liked his spring training enough to offer him a major league contract a week before the season began. But clearly, dealing for Harang at this stage of the season means part of the 2013 plan has already gone off-kilter.
It would make things a little simpler if the Mariners were trading a guy already on the roster. Then, you could just insert Harang into that player’s spot. But again, I am told the Rockies do not want this.