Mariners Analysis

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Politics and our number one pitcher

Yesterday our manager announced before spring training even starts that Bedard is the opening day starter. As anybody who follows baseball knows, the rotations get mixed up as the season wears on and who is number one and who is number two is not really a big deal. By the end of the season, the team and players know who was really the strength of the pitching staff, who belongs in AAA etc... so the naming of the opening day starter is mostly ceremonial.

The hard part is when a team makes the post season. Then you really have to decide who you trust in what game. The numbers are no longer ceremonial, they matter.

So it's not a big deal who's number one and who's number two in April. The season will sort that stuff out.

Still, it is easy to wonder why the rush. Why not wait until spring training plays out. What if Bedard tweaks his elbow and misses two weeks of the season? What if he struggles on his new team and Felix is untouchable? Why not make it a real competition in Spring Training?

And while we're at it, if you don't care about competition why not name all 5 spots? Why the focus just on the number one spot?

Simple, it's politics. The Mariners FO wants the fans and world to know they just traded 5 players for a NUMBER ONE starter. When you have a NUMBER ONE starter you are excited for the season to start. When you have a NUMBER ONE starter you will win 90+ games and play meaningful baseball in September, and NUMBER ONE starters don't let teams lose 10+ games in a row.

This season will be different because we have a NUMBER ONE starter, and the Mariners want the world to know.

So don't forget it, or the team will be happy to remind you about our NUMBER ONE starter.