The Seattle Mariners have finally started playing baseball. They did drop their spring training opener (via MLB.com) by a score of 9-3 to the San Diego Padres, but it is good to finally get things started.
Position battles have begun, and it was not a good start for Hector Noesi. It is only one game, but Noesi surrendered six runs and a grand slam in the first inning. He only retired two batters before being pulled, and he was rewarded with a 54.00 ERA for his efforts.
Not exactly a good first impression for a guy that will be likely be battling for the fifth spot in the Seattle rotation.
Greg Johns of MLB.com tweeted the summary:
Hector Noesi hit hard in 2/3 inning, allows 6R, 4H, 4BB and one sun error on Ibanez in LF, lifted with bases still full after 11 batters.— Greg Johns (@GregJohnsMLB) February 22, 2013
Based on his performance in 2012, Noesi was going to be facing a tough battle anyway. Noesi finished 2012 with a dismal 2-14 record and an ERA of 5.82 for the year. He had a WAR of -1.1 last season.
Not exactly overwhelming statistics.
Obviously this is one game. Noesi will pitch again, and there is no guarantee that everyone else will dazzle.
Blake Beavan may be unspectacular as well as he fights for a spot in the rotation. Erasmo Ramirez may not continue to show the promise that he displayed at the end of 2012. Jon Garland and Jeremy Bonderman may prove to have nothing left in the tank. The hot young prospects may be sent to Tacoma for a bit more seasoning.
Lots of maybes.
This is just the start, but it is fair to say that Noesi did not impress the people around the table at his first interview. For the sake of argument, it may be fair to suggest that Noesi will have to look pretty sharp in his next outing. He will at least have to show a good deal of improvement.
As noted by Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, “He was already facing a steep, steep climb trying to make this rotation and did not do himself any early favors here.”
Noesi may be the first name penciled onto the cut list in manager Eric Wedge’s head.
Starting pitcher is not the only position battle in camps. The other big battle will be in the outfield, and Casper Wells got out to an early lead with a two-run home run in the ninth inning. Again it is early, but every at-bat counts in the spring.
Perhaps Noesi could find a spot in the bullpen, but there are a number of young, talented throwers who will likely be ahead of him. He may be left without a chair when the music stops.
Maybe this was Hector Noesi’s one chance to prove that he deserves to be on this team. If so, his prospects are not looking good.
The good news is that baseball has finally begun. Hope springs eternal.