Scott Servais: Mariners bullpen ‘very, very strong’ for 2018
Months after matching an improbable record for starting pitchers in a season, Mariners manager Scott Servais is optimistic that Seattle’s 2018 bullpen will avoid the same shuffling and injuries – in part because, well, it’s really hard to use 40 different pitchers.
“There’s no way we could use 40 pitchers again,” Servais said with a laugh, when asked to give fans reason for hope in a new season.
“What we went through last year is historical. We just had to figure out a way to keep healthy bodies, guys that could pitch. I don’t wish that upon anybody. We will not go through that again. There’s no way you could through that again, I’m going to keep saying it because it’s not going to happen.”
Servais welcomes back a much healthier pitching staff for 2018 with a few new additions, including free agent reliever Juan Nicasio, whom Seattle signed to a two-year contract in December.
“(James) Paxton and Felix (Hernandez) will lead our rotation, but Mike Leake did an outstanding job for us last year when we acquired him, it couldn’t have gone any better for us,” Servais told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock and Salk. “Same thing with Erasmo Ramirez, I think kind of under the radar, the job that he did. And that fifth spot, you’ve got Marco Gonzales, Andrew Moore, Ariel Miranda, who led our team in innings pitched last year, unfortuantely gave up a few too many homers, and we’ve got to try to correct that.
“As you’ve seen, the game is evolving, it’s changing,” Servais said. “The number of guys that are giving you 200 innings (was around) 15 last year, down from about 60 guys about four years ago. So, the importance of bullpens and multiple innings guys, more than just a three-out guys in the bullpen, is really, really valuable in our game. It’s one of the reasons we were very aggressive in the bullpen market. We were able to get Juan Nicasio, with a healthy David Phelps, Nick Vincent, (Marc) Rzepczynski, (James) Pazos, and then our closer Eddie Díaz, I think our bullpen is very, very strong.”