Today the Mariners announced the 30 man roster they’ll take to Japan. The roster includes a few surprises, and a lot more non-surprises.
Hitters: Chone Figgins, Dustin Ackley, Munenori Kawasaki, Alex Liddi, Brendan Ryan, Justin Smoak, Kyle Seager, Mike Carp, Carlos Peguero, Michael Saunders, Ichiro Suzuki, Casper Wells, Miguel Olivo, Jesus Montero, John Jaso, Guillermo Quiroz
Pitchers: Felix Hernandez, Jason Vargas, Hector Noesi, Blake Beavan, Erasmo Ramirez, Steve Delabar, Hisashi Iwakuma, Shawn Kelley, Brandon League, Chance Ruffin, Tom Wilhelmsen, Charlie Furbush, Lucas Luetge, George Sherrill
One of the guys that is surprising to some, but may make some sense is Erasmo Ramirez. I’m certainly not in love with him as a prospect, and I had him at No. 24 on my list of top prospects. I’m not stubborn enough to completely ignore the team’s willingness to include him among these 30 players. The reason I don’t like Erasmo as a prospect is because I feel that his ceiling is very low. That said, the repercussions of moving a low-ceiling pitcher along too fast are a lot less impactful than ruining Taijuan Walker. It looks like I may have underestimated Erasmo Ramirez a little, but I’d like to see him in real MLB competition before I re-evaluate him.
As noted in several places, Kevin Millwood isn’t on the roster. That doesn’t mean that because the Mariners have announced their rotation, but have omitted Millwood, that they’ve found some loophole that has allowed them an extra phantom roster spot. Rather, Millwood isn’t going to Japan. That’s probably his own choice. It may be because he’s old. Maybe he doesn’t like Japan. I don’t mean he doesn’t like Japan like Clint Eastwood probably didn’t like Japan in Gran Torino, but maybe he just doesn’t want to go. That’s fine. Whatever. Stay home Millwood. I don’t care.
The really sad thing is that Vinnie Catricala doesn’t get to make the trip. I like Catricala’s bat a lot, and I’d have liked to see him against higher competition, even if he was only there to play in the exhibition games. He seems like a potential fixture of the franchise in the future. I put him as my No. 7 prospect , and it would have been nice to see the Mariners extend him an invitation. I don’t know if Catricala has ever been to Japan. I don’t know if Catricala wants to go to Japan. I know I want to go to Japan, and that Sean Kramer has been to Japan. He said it was fun. Catricala went to the University of Hawaii which is probably the closest Division-1 college to Japan. It’s not like it’s that close though. It’s still almost 4000 miles, and I bitch about my 25 mile commute to work every day.
That Carlos Peguero is on the roster is a little baffling. I don’t see where he fits with this team unless they plan to use Ichiro in center field, in which case Peguero would enter some kind of platoon in right field. But even then a platoon would probably be an inefficient use of a roster spot because Casper Wells is probably better than Peguero on both sides of the platoon. I’m not a Peguero-hater. I’m willing to let him spend as much time in the minors as possible attempting to refine his swing, because he’s got unlimited power. But while Peguero is in Japan he may want to pick up a job application from the Hanshin Tigers, because he’s as likely as anyone in baseball to have “contract purchased by (insert Japanese team)” in his future transaction log once he’s out of options.