Apr 7, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Nathan Karns (51) throws a pitch in the fourth inning of the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
All three of these pitchers should get an opportunity to compete for the fifth starter job next spring in Peoria. James Paxton and Nate Karns are the most likely candidates, but Mike Montgomery deserves some consideration following his impressive debut campaign.
Personally, I hope we see James Paxton in the Mariners’ starting rotation. I’m a fan of having two southpaws in the rotation, and I believe Pax-Man’s ceiling is slightly higher than that of Nate Karns. Monty is out of minor league options, and I expect him to take up a spot in the M’s bullpen when the club heads north to Seattle.