It Sure Seems Like Matt Brash’s Season Is Over

We got some bad news in the last week or so, with word coming out that Matt Brash had a setback in his recovery. They shut him down in Spring Training, to rest his arm in the hopes that he’d maybe be back a month into the season. Things were going according to plan, as he ramped himself back up to throwing normally in bullpen sessions. He was all ready to go out to Tacoma or wherever for a rehab assignment, when it was announced that his arm wasn’t recovering like it’s supposed to after throwing his bullpens. They shut Brash down again, this time sending him to some specialist down in Texas.

We haven’t heard anything yet about the findings, but it sure feels like Brash isn’t going to make it back. Either he needs surgery and his year is over, or they’re going to keep dicking around with us – hoping that more rest and rehab will do the trick – before he ultimately gets shut down again and has to have surgery anyway. Just get the surgery! If you need it, just get it, because otherwise if you wait, it’s going to cost you part or all of 2025 too.

This is, obviously, a severe blow to the 2024 Mariners. Brash was projected to be our best reliever this year, maybe even one of the best in all of baseball. There was always that possibility, anyway. That he’d make 70+ appearances and have a sub-2 ERA, with 100+ strikeouts and a ton of high-leverage holds and saves. No one else you’d replace him with has anything close to his level of ability. And, to boot, this puts more stress on guys like Munoz and Stanek, who have proven to be hittable; saying nothing of Gregory Santos, who is also still on the IL and whose timeline is still very much TBD.

Ultimately, it’s a huge bummer. I would’ve loved to have seen what this team looks like with four elite, top-end relievers doing their thing down the stretch and in the playoffs. That might still happen, but if it does, it’s going to require the Mariners making a deadline deal and probably shelling out more money than they look like they’re willing to spend.

Or, they’d have to do something that makes them even more uncomfortable, and that’s turning one of their hot-shit young arms into a bullpen guy.

I find it utterly fascinating that – by all accounts – the notion of Bryan Woo being converted to a reliever is a non-starter. Maybe they’re smart to keep him where he is, and I’ll be made to look the fool as he develops into an ace-level talent one day. But, it’s not like Brash is going to be the only reliever injury we’re going to see this year. And you’re telling me Woo wouldn’t be fucking awesome as a 1-inning guy, letting it rip and blowing it by guys in the late innings?

I’m not necessarily saying that we need to be doing this right away. Of course, I would prefer the Mariners to keep their six starters stretched out and available. As we’ve already seen with Woo’s spring injury, it’s hard to keep pitchers off the IL. When Woo is ready to come back to the Mariners, Hancock SHOULD go down to Tacoma and continue starting. We should have him working on his secondary pitches, knowing full well that we’re going to need him back up here again at some point.

But, I find it hard to believe that we can’t even broach the subject of Woo as a reliever. If the rotation holds up the rest of the way, maybe Woo has some sophomore struggles here and there, we get into August and the bullpen needs a jolt … wouldn’t that be the perfect opportunity for him to just slide in there and be a 6th or 7th inning guy for a while? Maybe, as he has success and gains confidence, we can use that arm in higher leverage situations once – God forbid – the playoffs roll around and we need the extra arms in that capacity.

It’s ridiculous to me that Woo as a reliever won’t happen because he’s never done it before. That’s idiotic to me! If that were a legitimate reason, nobody would ever do anything else than what they’ve already done! It’s asinine!

I dunno, it’s a long season. Seems dumb to get all worked up over something like this, when we don’t know what’s going to happen. I just keep thinking about how good Woo might look as a reliever, and with Brash now on the shelf, it seems like a no-brainer to me. We’ve converted much better-looking starters into relievers with pretty good success, including Brash himself! Why not Woo? Yes Woo can!