The strength of the 2009 Seattle Mariners appears to be a strong, deep starting rotation – but as with all things facing this team, even putting that together will be a challenge.
If you're new manager Don Wakamatsu and his staff, you're faced with a lot of options and some harsh reality. There are nine potential starters on this roster, and no room for all of them on the pitching staff.
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The harsh reality? The Mariners can't trade pitchers like Carlos Silva, Jarrod Washburn or Miguel Batista, and can't send them to the minor leagues, either. And early on, at least, new general manager Jack Zduriencik isn't going to eat their contracts.
So the Mariners must build their rotation with all that in mind, and consider not just who the teams best starters are, but which of their pitchers could also be effective in a relief role.
Want to put together a rotation? That also means figuring out where to put the men who don't make it.
Here are your candidates.
Right-handed pitchers Felix Hernandez Brandon Morrow, Aaron Heilman, Batista and Silva.
Left-handed pitchers: Erik Bedard, Washburn, Ryan Rowland-Smith and Ryan Feierabend.
And keep this in mind while you're building your rotation – the Mariners bullpen already includes Roy Corcoran, Mark Lowe and Tyler Walker, and candidates like Cesar Jimenez, Randy Messenger, Justin Thomas, Jared Wells andJason Vargas.
The Mariners are going to have to be creative.
Want to help them out? Put together a rotation, then figure out what the other four pitchers can do on this staff. Remember the restrictions – you can't release any of them, cannot trade some of them and can only send Morrow and Feierabend back to the minors.
Let's see what you can come up with, and feel free to explain why.