Mariners Spring Training Preview: The Bullpen

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Sep 22, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Fernando Rodney (56) in the dugout against the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Leave no Doubt:

Fernando Rodney will be in the bullpen on Opening Day. The M’s are shelling out $7 million a year for him to be our closer, so unless he gets injured he better be out there. If not, oof, I don’t even want to go there.

Danny Farquhar will also be out there, more than likely as Rodney’s set-up man. Lord Farquhar pitched admirably last season after stabilizing the revolving door that was the closer role after Wilhelmsen stuffed his head into the warning track clay like an ostrich. Farquhar had 16 saves, 4 blown saves, and a 4.20 ERA that was inflated by a few poor outings earlier in the season. And in 55 2/3 innings pitched Farquhar struck out 79 batters. That’s good for a 1.4 K/IP.

Since the Doug Fister trade, Charlie Furbush has really been the only guy to have panned out– do you remember Casper Wells? The ‘Bush had a respectable year last season when he was being used properly– to shut down lefties in the middle of the lineup. But with the innings being eaten by the ‘Pen, Furbush was forced to pitch longer, and even in the 9th inning where he blew 6 saves.

He will be out there too, especially since it doesn’t seem too likely the M’s will be bringing back Oliver Perez, who was not only the best lefty but the most consistent arm in the ‘Pen in 2013.

Stephen Pryor had an AMAZING 2013 season– for the 7.1 innings he pitched to start the year before being derailed by a number of season-ending injuries.

In those 7.1 innings he gave up only three hits, one walk, and struck out seven. His ERA was 0.00 and his WHIP was 0.55. Of course none of those numbers are sustainable, but Pryor looked to be embracing his role in his sophomore season.

Look for this Spring Training to get him back into form, and barring any injury setbacks – some expect he could miss the first few months – I expect him out in the ‘Pen come Opening Day. His flaming fastball will be much-needed, especially with Carter Capps being traded for Logan Morrison this offseason.

Okay, so that gives us four guys that are all but shoe-ins for the bullpen in 2014. Or at least they are in my opinion– which is wrong so very often especially regarding the Mariners; so don’t hesitate to call me on my B.S.

Again, assuming we start the year with seven guys in the bullpen that leaves two more spots. One of those spots will go to a long reliever (AKA the guy who will be the 6th starter), and then the 7th spot will need to go to another lefty because as of now the ‘Bush is the only southpaw. There will also be a healthy competition between Wilhelmsen and Medina for the other RHP relief slot.

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