As the Mariners search for Joe Beimel’s replacement in their bullpen, they aren’t looking for a Beimel-type guy.
“I’m not looking for a left-handed specialist,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “I would like to have a guy who is complete, who is able to throw multiple innings, get both left-handers and right-handers out.”
Charlie Furbush, in part, already fills the need for a lefty specialist — a “LOOGY” (lefty one-out guy) in the game’s parlance. He worked just 42 1/3 innings last season in 67 appearances.
McClendon used Beimel, 37, in a similar manner: 45 innings in 56 games. Efforts to retain him stalled, apparently, from his push for a multiyear deal — although he remains unsigned as a free agent.
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The Mariners responded earlier this month by signing veterans Rafael Perez and Joe Saunders to minor-league deals to battle Lucas Luetge and Rule 5 pick David Rollins for duty as Furbush’s partner.
While McClendon prefers to have a bullpen lefty capable of working multiple innings, he isn’t looking for a long reliever. That job belongs to right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen.
“Tom was probably the best in baseball last year,” McClendon said. “I can’t imagine anybody’s numbers were better than his at that position. But it would be nice to have a lefty who can also give you two to three innings.”
Wilhelmsen was 3-2 with a 2.27 ERA in 57 appearances.
The Mariners are approaching a crossroads with right-hander Erasmo Ramirez, who is out of options — i.e., he can’t be sent back to the minors without clearing waivers.
McClendon said Ramirez is “as we speak now” battling for a spot in the rotation.
That seems a long shot.
Four starting spots are appear taken with Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, James Paxton and J.A. Happ. Competition for the final spot is expected to focus on Taijuan Walker and Roenis Elias.
McClendon said Ramirez’s chances to win a bullpen job “might even be stiffer,” while noting, “we’ve got some talented arms in that bullpen.”
Asked what affect Ramirez’s lack of options might have on the club’s decision, McClendon demurred: “That’s a question for the general manager. Not me.”
Iwakuma threw a third bullpen session Friday rather than shifting to live batting practice.
Standard camp procedure is two bullpen workouts and two BP sessions before entering game action.
But it’s not hard and fast, especially for veterans.
“I don’t think (Iwakuma) needs the live (BP),” McClendon said. “The guy is such a technician. He gets more done in a bullpen setting than in a live BP session.”
While the Mariners have an intrasquad game scheduled for Monday — rain is in the forecast — McClendon said they are unlikely to schedule any “B” games against other clubs … Only the Nationals and Mets will have less money available than the Mariners to spend in the June draft without incurring an overage tax. The Mariners lost their first-round pick when they signed free-agent Nelson Cruz. Major League Baseball assigns a bonus pool to each club based on the slot value of all picks through the 10th round.