According to ESPN, Marco Gonzales did not travel with the team to Texas for this weekend's series against the Rangers. Marco will miss at least his next start on Saturday and could be in line to miss significant time. The Mariners will call up Bryan Woo from AA Arkansas to make Saturday's start. Should Marco miss significant time, the Mariners could find themselves in some trouble figuring out how to replace their 5th starter.
Marco Gonzales has ben a good fifth starter this season. Aside from getting smacked by the Red Sox on May 17th, the Mariners have won 6 of his last 7 starts. Hopefully his elbow is just sore, and there is not major damage done to it. Marco did miss all of the 2016 season with Tommy John surgery back when he was a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. If what we fear most happens, he would be the 3rd Mariners pitcher to have TJ surgery this season. Robbie Ray and Easton McGee have had Tommy John surgery this year alone.
Who stands to take Marco Gonzales' place in the rotation?
For at least 1 start, the answer to Marco's replacement is Bryan Woo. According to MLB Pipeline, Bryan is the Mariners 6th ranked prospect. Woo has been absolutely shoving in Arkansas this year. In 44 innings, he has a 2.05 ERA, 27 hits, 12 walks and 59 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting just .174 against him this season. While he has been dealing this year, one major thing to keep in mind is the fact that he has never thrown more than 57 innings in a season. Not in college and not yet in the minors. He absolutely will be on an innings limit for the season.
Another option should Woo need time off would be to call up Emerson Hancock. The former 6th overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft has not been as sharp as Bryan Woo in Arkansas this season. His 6.25 ERA and 1.54 WHIP leave a lot to be desired, and his walk rate is pushing 6 per 9 innings. That's all bad. But keep in mind Bryce Miller. Miller was not putting up numbers in Arkansas either. Their ERA's were very similar, but Miller was not walking anybody. Hopefully, a combo of Woo and Hancock can fill the void left by Marco if he indeed needs to miss time.
Sure, the Mariners could transition Chris Flexen back into the rotation. But he struggled in that role replacing Robbie Ray. The Mariners could always trade for another starter. We have seen this regime do that before. Tommy Milone is another option. He was called up earlier this year to make a start for Marco when he went on paternity leave. Tommy pitched well, going short of 5 innings and only giving up one run. He has a 3.38 ERA in Tacoma so far this year.
We are all very excited for the debut of Bryan Woo, and we should be. He has the chance to be great. But lets all send some positive thoughts Marco's way. Hopefully he can avoid a significant injury and come back healthy for the playoff push.