Perlata struck out the side again today making that 8 Ks in his last 3 IP. Although it's a small sample size to date, it does remind you a bit of his 2007 season (3.79 FIP). So what happens if he continues to pitch this well for the next couple weeks? He has no options left - so does he make the team? If so, who's the odd man out?
Here's how I see the 2009 Bullpen situation shaping up so far:
Locks: Soria, Cruz, Mahay, Farnsworth
That leaves 3 spots for: Gobble, Bale, Tejeda, Waechter, Peralta, Rosa, Villarreal, Duckworth, Wright, and Lowery
Not making the team: Villarreal, Wright, and Duckworth are on minor league contracts and will provide pitching depth in Omaha. Rosa is a stud but has options so we'll probably see him during the year, but he starts in Omaha. I believe Lowery has options, but even if not, he's not making the big club.
Realistically then that leaves: Gobble, Bale, Tejeda, Waechter, and Perlata for 3 spots.
Wow. There is actually legitimate competition for those final 3 spots! I actually think all those guys deserve to be on a major league roster.
- Bale would have been a lock until his thyroid surgery, now I see him as a possible DL candidate to start the season. Otherwise if healthy, he makes the team.
- Tejeda is too good and too much of a strikeout pitcher to not make the team. I believe he is a lock as well.
- Gobble is the LOOGY and it seems management finally realizes this. Given the talk that has made its way into the papers and such, I think he's got a pretty good shot to make the team.
- Peralta has been a strikeout machine of late and is making a real case for himself.
- Waechter hasn't really pitched due to illness but is signed to a 640k contact. If released, the Royals would only owe 157k of that, but he does have a decent major league resume.
The way I see it then is that Tejeda, Gobble, and Bale would have had the final 3 except that Bale may end up on the DL. If that's the case I see Peralta getting the nod over Waechter at this point. It's possible that the Royals jettison Gobble if Bale is healthy, in which case I think whoever has had the better spring between Perlata and Waechter makes the team. If Bale is on the DL, I don't see anyway that Gobble is not on the roster.
I hope Peralta continues to pitch well and make this a difficult choice for the Royals. (I'm also assuming HoRam is not a legitimate bullpen candidate if he were to get beat out for a starter spot. With the way the bullpen is shaping up, it's almost a lock that either Banny or Hochevar ends up in Omaha.)