Found March 22, 2012 on NorthWest Sports Beat:
IwaWHOma? As the Seattle Mariners get closer to the start of the regular season, manager Eric Wedge and the rest of his coaching staff have a lot of decisions to be made in regards to the finalization of the 25-man roster. Of the many difficult decisions, the 5-man rotation was made public around 3:30pm Seattle time. Wedge announced his rotation, which will open up in Japan and ultimately start the 2012 regular season in Oakland.
Outside of the obvious in RHP Felix Hernandez and LHP Jason Vargas,  Blake Beavan, Hector Noesi, and Kevin Millwood wound up winning the remaining spots.
There was a stiff competition throughout spring for rotation spots 3 thru 5 with Charlie Furbush, and Erasmo Ramirez both stating their case for entry in the rotation.  Ultimately this decision led to a few surprises, most notably, Japanese import Hisashi Iwakuma, who was relegated to the bullpen. Did Eric Wedge make the right call? I believe so. There is a good balance  of veteran experience with a tremendous amount of upside in the young arms of Beavan and Noesi. Not quite sold on Wedge’s decision? That’s quite alright. You’re not alone. But allow me the opportunity to give you 5 good reasons why I think there is a lot of consistency in this rotation. Kevin Millwood Most industry minds thought Kevin Millwood‘s career was over. After spending three quarters of the 2011 season in Boston and New York’s minor league systems (7-2, 4.09 ERA, 89.2 IP in 16 starts), Milwood finished out the 2011 season in the Colorado Rockies rotation. Posting numbers (4-3, 3.98 ERA, 54.1 IP in 9 starts) that would indicate there still is something left in his right arm. The aging vet joins the rotation: Kevin Millwood Enter the Seattle Mariners. Who inked Millwood to a one-year minor league deal with a shot at making the 25-man roster in spring training. Everyone knows Wedge is partial to Millwood from their days in Cleveland, but this isn’t just your ordinary tip of the cap to the veteran. In 3 spring starts, Millwood was 2-1 with a 3.21 ERA, 12 K’s, .235 BAA in 14 IP. He deserved the right to be included, and even if this is just a situation of him holding the fort down until Danny Hultzen arrives sometime during the season, at least Millwood can give the club much needed innings. Hector Noesi The knock on Hector Noesi in New York’s minor league system was he lacked a true out pitch that resulted in abnormally high fly-ball ratios. Meaning specifically to the Yankee organization, he was never considered anything more the a back-end-of-the-rotation guy. Jack Zduriencik acquired Noesi specifically for his pin-point accuracy, command of the strike zone, and control, which were considered his calling cards. As expected, Noesi won a spot in Seattle’s rotation even with a small spring sample size (5.0 IP in 2 starts officially, but I’m assuming Noesi had a lot work work in B-games and split squads). Nonetheless, 2012 should be a good season for Noesi just on his upside alone. He will struggle at times, as most youngsters do, but he will give Mariners fans more of the good than bad. Blake Beavan Blake Beavan‘s 2011 season went as expected for someone getting his first cup of coffee in the big leagues. He wasn’t exactly terrible and he wasn’t all that dominating, either. We are talking about a 6’7, 240 lbs pitcher. Much like Doug Fister before him, incredibly tall pitchers rely heavily on location setting the tone for the success of every start. Fister was able to find that happy medium that allowed himself to never be too fine or too erratic. That’s what Beavan will need to find in 2012. Judging by his spring numbers (1-1, 2.35 ERA, 8 K’s/2 BB’s, .214 BAA, 15.1 IP in 4 starts), he may have found that. Much like Noesi, Beavan’s upside is clearly visible. Unlike Noesi, the book is still out on whether Beavan can be consistent enough. New kid on the block: Hector Noesi Jason Vargas Jason Vargas‘ second half issues are well documented. Whether it’s a command issue or going through the league for the second time, it’s unexplainable why his switch just seems to turn off after the All-Star break. That’s my only issue with Vargas. He possesses all the talent in his arm to make that next step in his progression of being a controlled lefty, but consistency has eluded him in the second half of the last two seasons. Vargas needs to trust his stuff completely. When he’s on, he’s one of the better left-handers in the American League. It’s just when he’s off, there really isn’t a solid explanation as to why. Felix Hernandez Do we really need to get into what Felix Hernandez brings or even means to the success of the Mariner rotation? Yes? If there is anything that Hernandez needs more, It’s run support.
Outside of his wins and losses, his secondary numbers have been CY Young brilliant. Oh yeah..He won that award in 2010.
This season Hernandez needs at least 15 starts where he can operate with a comfortable lead. We know what kind of pitcher he is with a 2-1 lead or when the game is tied. What we don’t know yet is how dominating he can be over the course of a full season operating with a comfortable lead. It cannot be said enough how important the pitching staff will be to the success of the 2012 Seattle Mariners. The book is still out on how the offense intends to rebound, but we do know how a Jack Zduriencik built pitching staff will operate.
They have the tendency to stay mostly healthy throughout the duration of the season, and while this rotation doesn’t have the sex appeal of rotations of the past, it’s still solid.
Is this rotation  set up to win 90 games? Not at all, but then again, it’s a rotation with an upside that could allow the Mariners to achieve their season goal of making it to the .500 plateau. And for this group specifically, that’s the whole point. CLICK HERE CHECK OUT THE SEATTLE MARINERS CLUBHOUSE AT NWSB! © Insider Steve for North West Sports Beat, 2012. | Permalink | No comment | Follow NWSB on Twitter or join US on Facebook for real-time updates OR... | Share This on Twitter | Share NWSportsBeat.com on Facebook Post tags: 2012, 2012 Mariners rosters, 2012 Mariners rotation, Blake Beavan, Felix Hernandez, Hector Noesi, Hisashi Iwakuma, Jason Vargas, Kevin Millwood, Mariners, Mariners blog, mariners pitching, Mariners Roster, MLB spring training, Seattle Mariners, Seattle Mariners Blog, Seattle Mariners News
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Youth Movement in Seattle – Mariners release Kuo, Camp and Jimenez

Getting Younger! Mariners roster cuts show a commitment to the youth movement. The Mariners will be leaving the Peoria complex on Thursday the 22nd with 30 players in tow for the opening series in Japan against the A’s. The Mariners currently have 38 men in camp after cutting Cesar Jimenez, Hong-Chih Kuo and Shawn Camp. Only 25 men can be on the roster for Seattle for the two...

Mariners announce their 5 man pitching rotation

PER Greg Johns blog over at MLBlogs.com today we've learned that skipper Eric Wedge has announced his starting rotation. The final rotation. Wedge said his five-man rotation will be Felix Hernandez, Jason Vargas, Hector Noesi, Blake Beavan and Kevin Millwood. Wedge said Noesi will start the first exhibition game in Japan on Monday, with Iwakuma starting the second game. Hernandez...

Seattle Mariners season predictions | 2012 season betting preview

2012 MLB Handicapping: Seattle Mariners For the 2nd season in a row last year the Mariners scored the fewest runs in the Majors. Seattle finished up at 67-95 and while they have a good staff they did not do much to upgrade their team and traded away their 2nd starter Michael Pineda for highly touted prospect Jesus Montero. CLICK HERE CHECK OUT THE SEATTLE MARINERS CLUBHOUSE AT...

Mariners announced their 30-man travel roster for Japan

The Mariners announced their 30-man travel roster heading to Japan this morning. All players on the 30-man roster will be eligible to play in the two exhibition games vs. the Hanshin Tigers (March 25) and Yomiuri Giants (March 26). The Mariners will then set a 28-man roster prior to the Japan Opening Series games vs. the A’s (March 28 & 29). The Mariners also announced...

Shawn Camp let go by the M's

Another day another arm cut from the Mariners spring training camp. We've learned this morning that the Mariners have released Shawn Camp. Following M's beat writers for MLB.com and Mariners.com Greg Johns tweeted. The 36-year-old signed a Major League deal worth $750K in Feburary. Looks like the bullpen is going to include League, Kelley, Wilhelmsen, Sherrill...

Barman-turned-big leaguer outgrows novelty act

PEORIA, Ariz. -- This time last year, Seattle Mariners reliever Tom Wilhelmsen was a long shot, a novelty act, not much more than a footnote. But now? He's a bonafide major league pitcher. A seventh-round draft pick of the Milwaukee Brewers in 2002 out of Tucson High, Wilhelmsen and his mean fastball seemed destined for the big leagues. But after a pair of positive drug tests...

2012 Top 20 Prospects – Seattle Mariners

2012 Top 20 Prospects – Seattle Mariners It’s prospect season again. I’ve had my rankings listed on team pages, but have been horrible about keeping those up to date. As I mentioned on the pages, I’m looking at other rankings when I make mine (along with scouting reports and my own opinion). Now the Mariners. For the top 20, I’ve listed them according to my ranking. I’ve...

Mariners 2012 outfield battle rages on as team heads for Japan

Wedge facing difficult decisions When the Seattle Mariners started spring training the outfield looked to be well set for opening day as Mike Carp, who at one time was going to be the first baseman of the future, was announced to be the starting left fielder. Ichiro Suzuki, despite losing his gold glove status and dressing like the Japanese version of Lady GaGa, would again be in...

M's set roster for Japan trip

The Seattle Mariners set their 30-man travel roster for the team's trip to Japan to open the regular season. The Mariners leave for Japan later on Thursday. They will play exhibition games against Japanese teams the Hanshin Tigers on Saturday and the Yomiuri Giants on Monday in Tokyo before a two-game regular-season series against the Oakland Athletics on March 28-29. The Mariners...

Seattle Mariners Rotation Announced

Today the Seattle Mariners announced their starting rotations going into the start of the 2012 season in Tokyo, Japan.  Felix Hernandez and Jason Vargas were, of course, the number one and two starters, respectively.  The real drama was the last three spots for the rotations that were fiercely competed by five pitchers: Blake Beavan, Hector Noesi, Kevin Millwood, Hisash Iwakuma...

Mariners, A's arrive in Japan for opening series

The Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics arrived in Japan on Friday, five days before opening Major League Baseball's 2012 season at Tokyo Dome. About 300 fans greeted the teams after they landed at Tokyo's Narita Airport, with Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki drawing most of the attention as the team made its way through the terminal. Utility infielder Munenori Kawasaki...

White Sox 13, Mariners 8

Forget the outing Wednesday, Felix Hernandez declared he was primed for his next start, on opening day. Hernandez was roughed up for eight runs in the Seattle Mariners' final game in Arizona this spring, a 13-8 loss to the Chicago White Sox. ''They hit everything I threw,'' Hernandez said. ''I feel strong. I'm ready. I threw 92 pitches and got my...

Mariners, Athletics arrive in Japan

The Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics arrived in Japan on Friday in preparation for the opening of Major League Baseball's 2012 season at Tokyo Dome.Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki received a warm reception from about 300 fans at Tokyo's Narita Airport. The teams open a two-game series on Wednesday."We're thrilled to be back in Japan," Oakland general...
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.