Doesn’t it seem like every time we get super excited for a Mariners game, or just about the Mariners in general, they do everything in their power to let everybody down?
All day in the leadup to this game, the talk focused on the Mariners. Back at .500, coming off of an incredible road trip, Yankees in town, Felix on the mound, and oh by the way help is coming in the form of reliever David Phelps.
Who is David Phelps? Well, he’s a guy we got from Miami for 4 low-level prospects (guys who are far from the Major Leagues now; who are sort of high-risk, high-reward types; whose odds of panning out are pretty low). He got his start with the Yankees before being traded to the Marlins before the 2015 season. He was once considered a starter, who has converted to being a reliever full time, who some think could be converted back into a starter for next year should the organization deem it appropriate. He’s earning $4.6 million this year, with one more year of club control next year (where he’ll look to earn probably $6-8 million if he continues on this course. He was a very good reliever last year, and is having a pretty good year this year. He had a few rough outings in April and June, but by and large he’s put up zeroes in his performances, which is all I ask. He gained about 3 mph in his fastball when he converted to being a reliever, now throwing around the mid-90s, with a cutter and a curveball.
In other words, David Phelps steps in immediately as one of our very best relievers. I imagine he’ll be slotted into a role backing up Nick Vincent – probably in the 6th or 7th inning – but could easily step in as an alternate 8th inning guy for when we want to give Vincent a blow. I imagine he’ll be thrown into the fire as soon as possible, particularly since his last appearance was this past Monday.
The one knock against him is that he probably walks too many guys, so I get the feeling some of his appearances will be pretty adventurous and not good for the ol’ agita, but pobody’s nerfect. He’s a clear step up from the guys we have in Tacoma and a good hedge against guys like Vincent and Zych, who have been on a remarkable tear this season and figure to be prone to some regression the rest of the way. If and when that happens, it’s nice knowing Phelps is here to take charge until those guys find their ways again.
As for the deal itself, I don’t have a problem with it. The outfielder looked like he could’ve been interesting, but he’s 19 years old, and somewhere around the 7th best prospect in the organization. When you consider the dearth of talent in the Mariners’ farm system, I’m not sure that means a whole lot to me. The Mariners HAVE outfielders right now, so I’m okay with getting rid of an iffy prospect who has a long way to go to be even a middling Quad-A type player.
That having been said, if Phelps is a bust, and one or more of those guys turn into superstars, you know I’ll be bitching HARD about this trade 3-5 years from now. SUCK IT MARINERS, I’LL HAVE MY CAKE AND EAT IT TOO AND THEN COMPLAIN ABOUT HOW FULL I AM LATER AND YOU JUST HAVE TO TAKE IT!
So, there we were, thinking about the Mariners – in mostly a positive light – for a whole day. I’ll be honest, while my new work schedule has me sleeping through most weekday West Coast games, I was strongly considering DVRing this one, waking up early, and watching sort of a fast-forwarded, Cliffs Notes version of the game. But, now I’m kinda glad I didn’t.
It would’ve been cool to see vintage Felix spinning 7 innings of 1-run gold (on 3 hits & 2 walks, with 9 strikeouts), but unfortunately we also saw Vintage Rest-of-the-Mariners in how they treated a King Felix start: namely, no run support and terrible defense and base running. Pazos and Zych combined to work the eighth, giving up an unearned run; and Max Povse – called up earlier in the day as a temporary bullpen arm while Phelps flies to Seattle (he should be added to the roster today) – gave up 2 unearned runs in the ninth thanks to a Cano error with two outs.
It’s really unfortunate, though, about the offense. They squirrelled away 8 hits and a walk against Yankees’ starter Luis Severino – who is good, but is by no means an unstoppable killing machine – but couldn’t push any runs across in his 7 innings of work (overall, 2 for 14 with RISP). From there, with the Yankees leading by even just the 1 run, it was all academic, as Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman were due up in the eighth & ninth. That can’t happen very much more this series if the Mariners expect to win some games.
In Rotation Shake-Up News: Sam Gaviglio was predictably sent back to Tacoma, and Yovani Gallardo was announced as the starter on Sunday. I like this, because it means Phelps takes over for Povse today, and the Mariners keep Emilio Pagan in the bullpen over Gaviglio in the rotation. I think Pagan has earned an opportunity and could be a very good weapon for us down the stretch, in games where we need long relievers (for instance, in games where Gallardo gets the start).
Three days left in this series, and a pretty sour start. I don’t have a lot of hope, but I guess we’ll see.