The Mariners’ roster churn continue again today as the team sent Brandon Maurer down to Tacoma, called up Alex Liddi, and they’ve basically got five days to figure out who is going to take Maurer’s sport.
Maurer suffered a similar fate – albeit with much worse results – to Michael Pineda in the second half of the 2011 season. He really only has two good pitches, and one of them is a slider. Sliders don’t work well against opposite handed hitters, and Maurer threw his slider 23.8 percent of the time against lefties.
Maurer surrendered a .351/.416/.622 line against lefties in his brief time in the bigs. For some perspective, Miguel Cabrera is was running a .323/.449/.652 slash line coming into Wednesday’s action. It is barely hyperbole to say that Maurer makes lefties look like they’re the best hitter in baseball.
Liddi for his part, has done very little to curb an alarming strikeout rate, and since he really can’t play third base or outfield well, he’ll likely function like a really not-good version of Michael Morse until he’s sent back to Tacoma.
In Maurer’s place the Mariners will have to make a decision. Jeremy Bonderman lurks in Tacoma, but Jeremy Bonderman is old, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2010, and has been entirely mediocre sicne 2007. He hasn’t been very good in Tacoma either, and while he may come up and out-result Maurer, it would likely be the result of batted ball luck as opposed to remaining ability. Bonderman isn’t generating strikeouts in the minors, and it’s the minors.
Another option is Hector Noesi. Noesi has avoided the long ball so far this season, but that’s sure to reverse to some degree, and ultimately you’d like to see him strike out more hitters if he’s going to have success in the big leagues. In a very small sample he’s allowed a very high rate of line drives, and he’s not missing as many bats as last year, but whatever. Hopefully he’s a very different pitcher than he was last year, and hopefully the line drives are statistical noise.
Either way, the moves aren’t over for the Mariners, who will be calling Franklin Gutierrez up reasonably soon also.