Mere hours after getting his ass kicked by the Milwaukee Brewers, Ryan Rowland-Smith was on his Twitter account, telling the world about his plans for the evening:
“Tom Petty concert 2m night! Going with dudes, more of a ‘take ya girl’ kinda concert! Wish she was here now! :(“
An innocent bystander would read this message and have no idea that Rowland-Smith just suffered his seventh loss on the season, dropping his overall record to 1-7. Nor would they realize that Rowland-Smith’s ERA had ballooned by another twenty decimal points, from a rotund 5.98 entering Friday evening to a morbidly obese 6.18 by night’s end.
In spite of yet another crappy outing, The Hyphen apparently felt no remorse for taking home a paycheck he has barely earned this year. At the same time, he had the urge to let the world know that he didn’t really give a damn about his latest underwhelming performance.
Step One: Put Ryan Rowland-Smith on a raft and send him out to sea.
Rowland-Smith originally hails from Australia. If Mother Nature is just, the Mariners’ 27-year-old lefthander will at some point arrive back in his homeland. But if not, who cares.
RRS is an absolute abomination right now. His initials stand for “Really, Really Sucky.” He can’t pitch to save his life.
Monday night Rowland-Smith got shelled by the Oakland A’s (2.2 IP, 7 ER, 10 H), which is akin to having one’s butt kicked by a fourth grade cub scout. The Aussie had been teetering on the edge of crappiness all year long, however, and his latest implosion was probably enough to force the organization’s hand.
Rowland-Smith certainly doesn’t deserve to start games any longer. Were he left with any minor league options, he’d almost certainly be on his way to Tacoma this morning. But because he can’t simply be optioned down to the farm, the Mariners would have to designate the southpaw for assignment if they wanted him off the 25-man roster. In designating Rowland-Smith, the M’s would risk losing him to another ballclub. Which honestly doesn’t scare me at all right now (but understandably scares an organization who has invested two commercials in the guy in the past two years).
In all likelihood, Rowland-Smith will be sent to the bullpen to work through his struggles while attempting to help the big club. That probably means a guy like Ian Snell finds his way to the rotation, or a middle reliever gets sent down while a guy like Luke French or Steven Shell gets called up.
A day after getting blasted for seven runs in just 1 1/3 innings pitched, lefty Garrett Olson is likely on his way out of Seattle’s starting rotation. Olson’s impending departure creates yet another hole in the Mariners’ already-thin starting five, which is little more than a trio these days.
Beyond Felix Hernandez, Erik Bedard, and Jarrod Washburn, the M’s currently have no other starting pitchers on the active roster (assuming Olson’s starting days are behind us).
Prior to the All-Star break, the team demoted starters Brandon Morrow and Jason Vargas to Triple-A so they could continue throwing through the mini-vacation. While it appears likely that Vargas may return to the bigs in a short period of time, Morrow may be looking at more of an extended stay in Tacoma.
That limits the number of options available to fill the two vacant starting spots.
We’d like to see the team go old school and fill out a four-man staff the rest of the year (so as to maximize the effectiveness of the Big Three), but we know that probably won’t happen. So here’s a breakdown of the candidates for spots four and five in the soon-to-be-revamped quintet: