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May 24, 2013 at 9:39 AM

Mariners options for rotation help getting thinner by the day

Well, that wasn’t the type of start Jeremy Bonderman needed to have with Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik and others in attendance to watch Class AAA Tacoma on Thursday night.

Bonderman gave up eight runs on 11 hits to Class AAA Nashville. Don’t forget, the Mariners have until June 1 to add him to their roster or he can opt to become a free agent elsewhere. The Mariners were keeping their options open with Aaron Harang and Brandon Maurer due to pitch early next week. But after seeing that from Bonderman, they could very well just let both pitchers make another start and then regroup depending on what happens.

Right now, we’ve seen Bonderman and Hector Noesi both hit hard within days of each other starting in AAA. Blake Beavan is also an option for the Mariners, but at this stage he might not be much of an upgrade over either Harang or Maurer. Remember, it was Harang who replaced Beavan because he wasn’t good enough.

The team’s biggest rescue options — Erasmo Ramirez and Danny Hultzen — are both hurt and several weeks away from pitching in AAA again, never mind the majors.

Thin times indeed.

For those wondering about Rickey Nolasco of the Miami Marlins, he is set to be one of the prime mid-season trade targets for many teams. But that’s mid-season. The Marlins aren’t about to deal him in May when they can wait until July and get multiple clubs after him to drive up the price.

At this point, the Mariners might be forced to wait. They can send Harang and Maurer back out, cross their fingers and hope they don’t get shelled again. After that, they re-evaluate based on what they actually see.

If Harang stops serving up elevated gopher-balls, it’s possible he may have found something to take his game up a notch. If Maurer can have greater success with off-speed pitches against lefties, he too, might buy himself some time.

But if one guy, or both, pulls another three-and-done, the Mariners would then be forced to do something.

At that point, they would still have time to add Bonderman to the roster before June 1 rolls around. They could see how Bonderman looks his next scheduled start and base their decision off that.

Same with Noesi. Same with Beavan.

But the point remains the same. For a team that had so much written about the depth of its minor league pitching in recent years, the Mariners have almost zero options as of right now to replace two guys who can’t make it beyond the fourth inning.


Comments | More in analysis | Topics: aaron harang; jeremy bonderman; hector noesi; brandon maurer


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