A strange question, right?
After all, how can any team in Major League Baseball have too many starters? The Seattle Mariners have some strong pitching talents, but too many starters? Really?
Here is the challenge that must be faced. If James Paxton continues to progress in his rehab and if Taijuan Walker has a couple of solid starts, the Mariners could then find themselves with six quality starters.
Six. Not too many teams have a six-man rotation. In fact, none of them employ such a strategy.
Look at the numbers of each starter so far this season:
Felix Hernandez: 10-2, 2.10 ERA, 0.92 WHIP
Hisashi Iwakuma: 6-4, 3.33 ERA, 1.09 WHIP
Roenis Elias: 7-6, 3.96 ERA, 1.19 WHIP
Chris Young: 8-4, 3.11 ERA, 1.11 WHIP
Taijuan Walker: 1-0, 4.50 ERA, 1.17 WHIP
James Paxton: 2-0, 2.25 ERA, 0.67 WHIP
Pretty solid numbers, wouldn’t you say?
Now, this is all contingent on the existing pitchers maintaining consistent performances and staying healthy. Paxton, Walker and Hisashi Iwakuma have all spent some time on the DL this season.
Having an extra starter is a luxury that many teams do not have, but the challenge is where to stash that pitcher. Some teams send an arm down to Triple-A while others rotate between the starting rotation and long relief.
At this point, the pitcher that is moved could be Young. At age 35, he is not a long-term solution for the Mariners and he is the type of player that could garner some trade value based on how he has pitched this season. Often teams in contention will look for a short-term veteran rental, and Young could fit that criterion.
What do you think? If the Mariners are indeed faced with this situation, which pitcher should be the odd man out? For the sake of sanity, I have removed King Felix and Iwakuma from the list.
Be sure to leave comments as to why you made your selection.