Mariners Analysis: Updating the M’s 5th Starting Pitcher Position Battle
Who has the Edge?
The Mariners acquired Nate Karns from the Rays as part of the return package for Brad Miller, Logan Morrison and Danny Farquhar. He was originally considered a lock to open the season in the M’s starting rotation, but that all changed after Seattle traded for Wade Miley and resigned Hisashi Iwakuma.
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James Paxton has made just 13 starts in each of the last two seasons. He missed much of last year with a strained finger tendon on his throwing hand. 2016 is a make or break season for Paxton, and his ability to stay healthy will likely determine his future in baseball.
Jerry Dipoto stated during the M’s game against the San Francisco Giants this week that the loser of this position battle could start the season in Seattle as a reliever. This makes perfect sense, as Seattle is expected to have a number of relievers start the season on the disabled list.
It is still too early to handicap this race, but I think Karns may have separated himself slightly with his impressive outing against the Rangers. However, Pax-Man has the necessary skills to be a quality starting pitcher in the big leagues, and I’m hopeful he reaches his potential this summer in Seattle. The final two weeks of spring training will be fun to watch, as both of these pitchers should get at least a couple more starts.
Next: Updating the Mariners Utility Infielder Position Battle
This position battle is another example of the stellar job done by Dipoto and his staff this winter. I think most fans would be happy with James Paxton or Nate Karns pitching out of the final spot in the M’s rotation, and that makes this race a win-win for fans.