Saturday, March 29, 2008

Final Roster, Opening Day Lineup Set

Cha-Seung Baek
Miguel Batista
Erik Bedard
Sean Green
Felix Hernandez
Mark Lowe
Eric O'Flaherty
J.J. Putz
Ryan Rowland-Smith
Carlos Silva
Jarrod Washburn

Jaime Burke
Kenji Johjima

Adriane Beltre
Yuni Betancourt
Willie Bloomquist
Miguel Cairo
Jose Lopez
Richie Sexson
Jose Vidro

Raul Ibanez
Charlton Jimerson
Mike Morse
Ichiro Suzuki
Brad Wilkerson

R.A. Dickey cleared waivers was sent to AAA Tacoma after Seattle sent minor league catcher Jair Fernandez and cash to the Twins in order to keep him. My theory is that Seattle is still trying to trade Baek and they'll call Dickey up when it happens. Another is that manager John McLaren may be a little weary about having a knuckleballer coming out a the 'pen, a concern I wrote a lot about before I had warmed up to the idea of having Dickey around. The last would be that they have invested a lot into Baek and want to give him every opportunity. If he struggles and is unable to work enough innings to keep this small bullpen afloat, that's probably the end of the line for him.

Greg Norton accepted a AAA assignment as well, making it an easy choice for McLaren to have Jimerson on the roster. I am glad Jimerson made the team. He will be Seattle's only backup that is a natural outfielder and he's going to steal some bases off the bench.

The surprise surrounding Mike Morse is no longer that he'll make the team, but that he'll be platooning in right field with Brad Wilkerson. I had almost assumed that Wilkerson would be part of a platoon coming into camp, most likely with Wlad Balentien, but the idea was dismissed by McLaren at some point. Now that we know they're going with a platoon, you have to realize that Balentien wasn't sent down just because they want to get him more starts, but because he really does have some more work to do before he's major league ready. I am assuming that Morse will start against lefties and Wilkerson against righties, but if you look at Wilkerson's splits you would find that Wilkerson hits lefties much better throughout the course of his career.

With the exception of Brandon Morrow starting the year in the minors, the bullpen I predicted back in Febuary proved accurate. Score one for the home team!

McLaren also announced the Opening Day lineup:

Ichiro Suzuki, CF
Jose Lopez, 2B
Raul Ibanez, LF
Richie Sexson, 1B
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Brad Wilkerson, RF
Jose Vidro, DH
Kenji Johjima, C
Yuni Betancourt, SS

The only "surprise" here is that Sexson and Beltre are batting 4th and 5th, despite McLaren announcing during the final weeks of Spring Training that they would hit 4th and 6th. Obviously things could still change, but this is the lineup to expect.


topher said...

So Dickey was sent to AAA?

How was Kenji Johjima catching Dickey?

Jon Shields said...

Yeah, he's starting the year in AAA. I'm not sure if Seattle really wants to see what Baek can do, or if they're just buying some time to try and trade him. It's been very difficult to gauge what the organization is doing with this situation.

As far as I could tell Joh and Burke were catching Dickey pretty well.