What's next for Bryan Woo?

The team should make two moves to perserve the rookie righthander's innings for the stretch run.
Seattle Mariners v Chicago White Sox
Seattle Mariners v Chicago White Sox / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages
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Recall Chris Flexen 2.0

The Mariners claimed Adam Oller off waivers from the Oakland Athletics in July this year and immediately slid him into the Tacoma Rainiers’ rotation. He’s been a serviceable starter for the Rainiers, starting nine games and striking out 50 batters in 49 innings. There is a lot of 2020 Chris Flexen in Oller; he’ll eat innings and pitch to contact. However, he does possess some intriguing deception and a different pitch mix than the other starters.

Oller isn’t a flamethrower, routinely rushing up to 93 MPH, but he has solid command and knows how to pitch to contact. In this scenario, Oller replaces Bazardo and slots into the fifth spot in the rotation, which could be a massive boon for Servais and pitching coach Pete Woodworth. The move would allow the team to manage Woo’s innings further. But where does the 23-year-old Woo land?

Woo joins Los Bomberos 

We always knew Bryan Woo would reach his innings limit before the end of the season. The team has discussed this since May, when they called him to the big leagues. However, pitching him during a pennant race is problematic, at least starting him. The bottom line is Woo needs to be with the big-league club for the stretch run, but not as a determinant to the entire team. 

Woo is already feeling the strain of a long season, as his cutter, sinker, and 4-seam fastball all saw dips in velocity during his last start. That’s why Servais needs to place him in the bullpen. Dynamic starters often see their stuff tick up when they can go in shorter stints—effectively unloading the tank to get three outs instead of preserving energy to throw six innings. 

Imagine having a weapon-like relief arm like Bryan Woo at Scott Servais’ disposal during the stretch run. He could face right-handed heavy pockets and help shorten a game, a vital attribute of a playoff team. He’d be a dynamic weapon against righty-swinging division foes firing 97 mph fastballs and sharp breaking sliders against Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, Marcus Siemen, Josh Jung, and Adolis Garcia. Adding Woo to the Los Bomberos is a no-brainer, especially for a team with playoff aspirations.