BY John Hickey 08:42PM 07/31/2011

With Bedard, Fister gone, Mariners rotation a shadow

After two big trades, Mariners will use Beavan to fill one spot in rotation, but will have to dip into Tacoma roster for a fifth starter.

Lefty Charlie Furbush will make his way into the Seattle rotation, but not right away, and that creates a problem. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

There is a good chance that the trades the Mariners made over the weekend will make Seattle’s baseball prospects worse before they’re better.

They almost have to. Seattle stripped two of its five starters from the rotation in deals with Detroit Saturday and Boston Sunday. Given that the rotation was the strength of the club, there’s no way to spin these deals making the club better immediately.

With lefty Erik Bedard off to Boston and Doug Fister accompanying reliever David Pauley to Detroit, the Mariners will have to find replacements in-house.

One is obvious. Blake Beavan, who has a 3.04 ERA in four starts when Bedard was on the disabled list for most of July, will be Monday’s starting pitcher in Safeco Field against Oakland. That was the spot originally designated for Fister. With Bedard moving into the Red Sox’s rotation, the Mariners have an opening on Wednesday against the Oakland A’s.

No choice is obvious for the Wednesday start.

Charlie Furbush, a left-handed pitcher who is one of four players coming from Detroit, is a starter by trade and by inclination. But he’s been pitching in relief, and it’s going to take a while to get him stretched out. He’s going to be pitching out of the bullpen, as he did Sunday, giving up a homer to the first batter he faced in one inning of work in an 8-1 loss to Tampa Bay.

So unless there is some kind of thoroughly unexpected post-trade deadline deal, general manager Jack Zduriencik and manager Eric Wedge will have to look into the minor league system to come up with a starter. Nate Robertson, Chris Seddon and Luke French all have prior big league experience.

The Mariners weren’t good before, and they’re not going to be good now. They’ll just look different.

There is no one for whom Seattle’s clubhouse will look more different than closer Brandon League. He’s spent the last couple of seasons with Bedard on the left side of his locker and Fister on the right. In the space of less than 30 hours, he said goodbye to both.

“It could work out well for them,’’ League said. “They both have a chance for the playoffs and this could be good for their careers. You don’t want to be selfish about it but we liked having them here.

“If they were bad persons or something, then OK. But these are good guys and good pitchers. They were part of what made our rotation so tough. And it’s not going to be easy to replace that.’’

Sunday’s starting pitcher against Tampa Bay, Jason Vargas, and League concurred on one thing. The trade of Fister and Pauley to the Tigers was much more of a surprise than the Bedard deal. Even though he denied it to the media, Bedard knew he was being watched by the Red Sox, Yankees and Tigers as the trade deadline neared.

“Seeing Dougie go was more of a surprise,’’ Vargas said. “It’s hard to say goodbye to teammates you like and friends and guys who have meant so much to you and the organization.’’

League said that the case for a team picking up Bedard, a veteran who’s been pitching in the big leagues for almost a decade, was easier to see than Fister, who while having pitched well in the rotation for the last two seasons, didn’t have a national name.

“Fister and Pauley didn’t have high profiles like Bedard did,’’ League said. “So it wasn’t a surprise when Erik was traded. It was to see Fister and Pauley go the way they did. But that’s baseball.’’

Wedge, Zduriencik and pitching coach Carl Willis have until Tuesday to make a call on a starter Wednesday.who they want to have start Wednesday’s day game. But as there is no time like the present, they discussed what to do next almost immediately after Sunday’s 8-1 loss was in the books.

Candidates include Seddon (7-5, 5.80 but pitching well of late), French (7-7, 5.57) and Robertson (3-4, 7.50). Among the up-and-coming pitchers in the organization is Tacoma starter Anthony Vazquez, a lefty who is 3-2, 3.24 and who is hot after a slow start at Double-A Jackson.

Whoever it is, he’ll have a tough time giving the Mariners the kinds of quality innings providedf by Fister and Bedard.

So that makes these deals a bit of a tough sell to the public.

“In the big picture, we got two offensive guys that our scouts like a lot,’’ Zduriencik said. “And we make the sacrifice right now to give up two months of  Bedard for two more players who will be with us for a long period of time. That’s the balance.

“Could we suffer from now to the end of the year? I hope our fans understand there are sacrifices to be made, and it’s possible our pitching staff won’t be as good with the two guys we just moved. But to get six players in return … it’s about today, but it’s also about where we’re headed. It’s about accumulating talent. That’s where we’re at.’’

For better or worse, Zduriencik won’t stand still. Since the beginning of the 17-game losing streak July 6, eight players have been moved off the Seattle. Half are out of the organization altogether.

The breakdown:

July 7 – 3B Kyle Seager recalled from Tacoma, C Jose Yepez designated for assignment (he later re-signed and joined Tacoma).

July 18 – LF/1B Mike Carp recalled from Tacoma, LF Carlos Peguero optioned to Tacoma.

July 21 – RHP Josh Lueke recalled from Tacoma, Seager optioned to Tacoma.

July 29 – Bedard activated from disabled list, DH Jack Cust designated for assignment (he should clear waivers in the next day or so, then will be released).

July 30 – RHP Dan Cortes recalled from Tacoma, LHP Aaron Laffey optioned to Tacoma.

July 30 – Fister and RHP David Pauley traded to Detroit for LHP Charlie Furbush, OF Casper Wells, 3B Francisco Martinez (to play at Jackson, Tenn.) and a player to be named later.

July 31 – Bedard and RHP Josh Fields traded to Boston for OF Trayvon Robinson (to play at Tacoma) and OF Chih-Hsien Chiang (to play at Jackson, Tenn.).


  • Cruddly

    It’s apparent the folks who sponsor the Alamo Bowl wanted to entertain viewers who tune in to the game on Dec 29.  This could turn into a great shoot out if the Huskies hold up their part of the bargain like they didn’t against all the other ranked teams they played this season.  And this is what we don’t want  —  a blowout loss on national television.  
    Hopefully, the Alamo Bowl will get what they wished for, a dazzling display of offense, similar to those old school Holiday Bowls when BYU played teams with equally explosive offenses and with little if any defense.   That basically describes both Baylor and the UW this year, but Baylor has home field advantage, and the Huskies’ offense seems to get discouraged whenever opposing teams slice and dice their defense,  so Baylor 56  UW 35.

  • andrew luck

    bears 59, that other team 14

  • Brandon26_91

    you guys are crazy uw wins this 35 to 28, last year nebraska put 56 on us then barely managed to score 7 points in the bowl game