The Seattle Mariners have a decision to make with Jon Garland and they will have to make it sometime Friday.
General manager Jack Zduriencik and manager Eric Wedge will have to decide whether or not they plan on keeping the veteran right-hander on their 25-roster to start the season or release him from his contract.
Garland has an opt-out clause in his contract that kicks in today if the Mariners don’t guarantee him a spot. Garland wants to know immediately.
“Tomorrow,” Garland said after his start on Thursday night. “That’s my out clause.”
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Garland pitched six innings, giving up two runs (two solo homers) on five hits with three strikeouts and a walk. He threw 70 pitches and could have thrown more.
“I think I’ve shown them everything I can,” Garland said. “Now the decision is on them. There are a lot of young arms that have proven themselves worthy. It’s going to be a tough decision on them. There are lot of factors that go into keeping me or not. It’s going to be tough on them. They are going to have to weigh heavy on it.”
Wedge said he would meet with Zduriencik and his coaches to make a decision.
“We need to get together,” Wedge said postgame. “We’ll get together tonight or tomorrow morning or both and figure out what we are going to do.”
One of the major factors is that Garland isn’t on the 40-man roster meaning the Mariners would have to make room for him by designating a player for assignment and run the risk of losing that player to a waivers claim.
“Obviously we’ve got a lot of moving parts when it comes to our starting rotation,” Wedge said. “It’s not just about him. It’s about everybody that’s involved with this. That’s they way we have to look at it.”
Garland understands. And he also understands the value of a healthy starting pitcher with ten plus years of big league experience.
“There’s been scouts in the stands every time I’ve thrown,” he said. “If they don’t want to keep me, I think there might be a phone call for me And like I said before, if not, I will be poolside at the house hanging out.”
At this point, I think the Mariners will keep him. Erasmo Ramirez and Blake Beavan have Triple A options, so one of them will likely be sent down with Brandon Maurer. Ramirez did himself no favors tonight. I think the club will ask Bonderman to go to Tacoma for a month. But who knows. Wedge didn't give us any hints.
CUBS 7, MARINERS 4 at Peoria Stadium
The Mariners had their six-game winning streak snapped at home as the Cubs scored seven runs on 12 hits. Seattle did have 11 hits, including a solo homer from Justin Smoak to push their major league leading total to 46 this spring. JasonBay went 3-for-4 with three singles. Robert Andino and Dustin Ackley had two hits each.
Who was hot
Justin Smoak continues to be on fire this spring. The big first baseman ripped his fourth homer of the spring and also added a sacrifice fly to score another run off of Cubs’ ace Jeff Samardizja.
Who was not
Erasmo Ramirez struggled in relief. The normal starter pitched two innings allowing four runs on six hits and served up a homer Alberto Gonzalez. Ramirez had been sharp most of the spring, but couldn’t put hitters away when het got up in counts.
“He did a good job of getting ahead, but didn’t finish hitters off. That’s just something he has to do a better job of. He’s been pitching well this spring, but tonight for whatever reason he wasn’t finishing pitches off when he was ahead in the count and he got hurt by it.” – Eric Wedge on Ramirez.
The Mariners continue their run of night games as they play the San Diego Padres tonight at Peoria Stadium. Seattle will be the visiting team in the game. Felix Hernandez will get the start for the Mariners. Also scheduled to pitch are Carter Capps and Kameron Loe. The Padres will start right-hander Tyson Ross. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. The game will be broadcast locally on 710-AM. There will be no televised broadcast.