Seattle Mariners Placed LHP Erik Bedard on the 15-day DL (hip inflammation), retroactive to 4/9. [4/15] Recalled Something-HP Soanso Somebody from Somewhere (Something-A). [4/Something]
Well, there it is, the end of the world, time to spike the lattes with Everclear, time to fill the gutters with tears instead of rain. Shape up, whiners! Let’s face it, the peril of walking on eggshells is that sometimes you stand a pretty good chance of getting yolky. As anyone who’s washed dishes can tell you, nothing–nothing–is more likely to gunk up a perfectly good tool like a bit of silverware than an eggy something, so when you take a calculated risk on a fragile commodity and it doesn’t go perfectly according to plan, you pretty much have to accept that there’s going to be a mess at some point, and that you’re going to have to get some crud under your nails cleaning it up.
It would be fair to say that whatever chance the Mariners have this season, with so many regulars in the lineup on the cusp of playing themselves out of their careers, and with so much dependent on their rotation, the peril is that as Bedard goes, so too likely does the Mariners’ bid for contention. Although their collective efforts haven’t been too shabby, evaluating the Mariners’ rotation performance so far isn’t all that simple; they’ve had a pretty easy schedule in terms of opponents in the early going, so it’s hard to get too worked up over how they’re doing. But with the pen a mess, if the Mariners are going to keep games in reach until their lineup either gets ironed out or inspires Bill Bavasi to up his bid to win now, it’s going to be on the shoulders of the rotation.
For the next week or so, that’s going to involve the automatic group hug over how neat it is that R.A. Dickey’s going to get another chance to start a game. You know what comes next, stories like, “Did you know that he’s still born without cartilage in one knee!” “Did you hear he throws a knuckler these days!” “Did you hear that he was on NPR, years late, just the way William Gibson said would happen?” “Did you know that he likes puppies?” None of which is Dickey’s fault; he’s just going try and pitch and earn his keep, but the inevitable noise will probably be followed by the perhaps equally inevitable Dickey-erasing performance from R.A. Dickey, followed by the hopeful speedy return of Mr. Bedard.
That isn’t to slam Dickey, who will do his best, but even translating his nice little year at Nashville last season, he’s 33 years old, and he wasn’t especially dominant last year against the equally gray legions of the PCL. Nobody should doubt that Dickey’s spirit may be willing, because he’s one of the great survivors, but his really tortured, rose-colored-lens upside is that he might do some league-average pitching, and his downside is another start like his fire-and-please-forget appearance in 2006, the sort of game that elicits worthwhile comparisons to Shane Falco and that equally imaginary Sugar Bowl disaster that’s more interesting than the actual performance itself.
Setting aside whether or not this bit of ill fortune will really recede with rest to be dealt with by the medheads, in terms of timing, Bedard’s targeted to return to the rotation on April 24th. That means that Dickey’s only going to have to make one start that might only have to be an improvement upon Cha Seung Baek’s grisly spot start on Sunday in Bedard’s place. However, because of the team’s offday next Monday, there’s some slack here, in that Bedard could be afforded another couple of days off and start on the 26th while the other four starters take their turns on four days’ rest apiece. That’s the advantage of operating a “five”-man rotation in a world without double headers playing a schedule larded up with offdays–you can skip the Dickey experience and settle for keeping your best starters on rotation, then work in your best starter once he’s ready for action. If they do lose Bedard for any length of time, there won’t be any point to Dickeying around, they may just as well get Baek’d and call it a year.
As for who takes Bedard’s place on the roster and Dickey’s spot in the pen, I know the chances of Soanso making it up are nil–the expectation is that it’ll be the still-wild Brandon Morrow, which isn’t a bad thing, since a live arm’s better than the alternative, especially while the Mariners try to sort out who to pitch when leading (or down) by how much against who while J.J. Putz is still out.