Originally written 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
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Russell Wilson admits in new essay: 'I was a bully growing up'

Miguel Cabrera turns down playoff bonus from Tigers

Rich Gannon blasts Raiders personnel: ‘They’re stealing’

Suspended KeiVarae Russell: Notre Dame becoming ridiculous

Antrel Rolle: Amukamara improved after losing virginity

High school football player dies after suffering head injury

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Giants shut out Pirates, advance to NLDS

Cowboys' Spillman accused of rape at team hotel

Report: Patriots benched WR for mouthing off to coach

Jose Bautista busts up reporter over Twitter

Sammy Watkins calls out EJ Manuel

Larry Donnell benches himself in fantasy, loses because of it

Kobe, Kanye West play ball together in private gym session

Manziel, Kevin Sumlin went to a Rick Ross party together?

AUDIO: Radio host crashes car during interview

GALLERY: Derek Jeter tops list of athletes with weird phobias

WATCH: LeBron James makes one special Cavs fan’s night

10 most shocking developments so far in 2014 NFL season

WATCH: Matthew McConaughey gives pep talk to Longhorns

ESPN reporter announces she has breast cancer

Byron Scott explains why Kobe wouldn't make a good coach

Hibbert texts Duncan for advice on being like Spurs

Belichick repeats moving 'on to Cincinnati' during presser

Donald Sterling’s wife called the cops on V. Stiviano

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!

Russell Wilson: 'I was a bully growing up'

Radio host crashes car during interview

GALLERY: Athletes and odd phobias

Amukamara better after lost virginity?

H.S. player dies after suffering head injury

Cowboys player accused of rape

Scott: Kobe would not be a good coach

Pats WR benched for mouthing off?

Sammy Watkins calls out EJ Manuel

Donnell benches himself in fantasy and loses

Gordon: Drug policy is harrassment

Who is the new face of baseball?

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.