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Seattle Mariners Opening Day Primer

2011 Record: 67-95 Manager: Eric Wedge

The Mariners once again struggled to score runs last season and decided to trade their rookie all star pitcher Michael Pineda to get one of the best hitting prospects in baseball, Jesus Montero. For this lineup to improve and get this team back to .500, Montero and their other young prospects need to grow up in a hurry.

Player in the spotlight: Ichiro Suzuki RF

Ichiro drops to the #3 spot in the batting order as he starts the season at 38. For the first time in his MLB career, Ichiro failed to amass 200 hits on the season. His unbelievable string of 10 consecutive 200 hit seasons ended. With 2428 career hits entering 2012, Ichiro is only 572 hits away from immortality at 3000 hits. That’s an incredible accomplishment for a player who didn’t get his first hit until he was 27 years old.

Biggest question mark in the lineup: Jesus Montero C/DH

Montero is the headline acquisition for the Mariners in the offseason. The M’s thought so highly of him that they trade a pitcher coming off an all star season as a rookie. That makes the expectations for Montero pretty high. He’s expected to develop into a 30+ HR hitter, but what position will he play? He’s still average on his best days behind the plate and one wonders if he’ll ever settle into an everyday role in the field. Perhaps he’ll end up like former Mariners great Edgar Martinez and have a great career as a DH.

Pitcher in the spotlight: Felix Hernandez

The King wasn’t as dominating in 2011 as he had been previously. Perhaps he felt pressure to throw a shutout each game because of the poor run support. Felix enters this season at 26 and remains an annual candidate to win the Cy Young Award. With some of the new offensive talent, maybe Hernandez can pick up a few more wins this season.

Biggest pitching question mark: Hector Noesi

Noesi was the second piece of the Pineda-Montero deal in the winter. Noesi gives the Mariners a chance to really win this trade in a big way if he’s able to develop into a good major league pitcher. If he does it this season, the Mariners have a decent chance of getting to .500 on the season.

Prospect with a chance to make an impact this year: Vinnie Catricala 3B/1B/OF

Catricala has a pretty good power bat and is versatile enough to play a few positions. If he adjusts quickly to AAA, he could end up in Seattle by the end of the summer, especially if Chone Figgins doesn’t revive his career.

Prediction: 4th in AL West

The Mariners are an intriguing mix of young hitting talent and a pitching rotation that could develop into a top 3 rotation in the AL. But that’s probably a year away at the soonest for the Mariners faithful. This season, the M’s will need to find a way to gradually improve their offense and develop a core of 4-5 everyday players who are going to lead this team into the future. If they do that and pitch well, this team could surprise some and get to around .500. If their offense doesn’t start to come around, the Felix trade rumors will begin en force and the Mariners front office will begin to feel the heat for a rebuilding effort that is going on 10 years with only 2 winning seasons.

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MLB Daily Balk 5/23 Plus Seattle Mariners Overview

 

The "King" and the Mariners could be players sooner than most think

The Mariners Could Be a Major Player This Summer

The Mariners have won five straight and are only 2 games below .500 going into Monday’s game in Minnesota. The key to the M’s success has been their pitching, which ranks 6th in all of baseball with a 3.40 ERA. In addition to mainstay great Felix Hernandez, rookie Michael Pineda has dazzled in his first two months of big league ball and oft-injured Eric Bedard appears to be back to his form of past seasons after missing all of 2010 with constant pain in his pitching shoulder.

Their lineup has shown signs of life at times as well. While the M’s will probably struggle to field a lineup of quality hitters for years to come, they have seen very good progress from first baseman Justin Smoak, who has compiled a .861 OPS and Adam Kennedy has been a solid contributor. The rest of the offense, Ichiro notwithstanding, has been bad, but help could be on the way with top prospect Dustin Ackley. They also just got back CF Franklin Gutierrez who missed the first month and a half with an illness.

The Mariners are going to have choices over the next few months. They have the financial resources to potentially take on salary if they feel like they can make the playoffs. Their payroll is just over $94 million and has been as high as $117 million in 2008. Unless they’ve really tightened their belts, they should have the financial flexibility to improve their team.

If the Rangers or Angels run away and hide with the division and the wild card appears to be unattainable, then the M’s do have a couple of pieces that contenders would be interested in acquiring. No Felix Hernandez WILL NOT be available, but Eric Bedard is only making $1 million this season and if he continues to pitch well, the Mariners should be able to acquire some quality prospects in return for the lefty.

Shortstop Jack Wilson, Adam Kennedy and DH Jack Cust are other veterans in his final year of his contract that the Mariners should make available. Kennedy could be moved as soon as Ackley is deemed ready to take over at second base.

The bottom line for the Mariners is that they aren’t as far away from contending as many might think. Even without Bedard next season, a 1-2 punch of Felix Hernandez and Michael Pineda will be tough to match and if they are able to acquire a potential power bat for the outfield, their lineup should improve modestly in 2012.

 

AL News/Notes

The Angels’ Scott Kazmir will be making a minor league rehab start on Tuesday in Salt Lake City. Also, Howie Kendrick wasn’t available Sunday after taking a cortisone shot in his right hamstring.

The White Sox expect Carlos Quentin to be back in the lineup on Monday after missing a few games.

Rookie Alex White was placed on the DL by the Indians after injuring his right middle finger. White’s expected to be out for 2-3 months.

The Athletics are calling on Josh Outman to start Monday’s game. The A’s are without 3 of their top 6 starting pitchers after placing Tyson Ross and Brandon McCarthy on the DL. Closer Andrew Bailey had a solid rehab outing and is getting closer to returning to the A’s.

  

NL News/Notes

The Cubs have placed Marlon Byrd on the DL after he was beaned on Saturday night. The Cubs called up pitcher Justin Berg to take Byrd’s roster spot.

The Nationals’ Adam LaRoche will get his left shoulder evaluated with his failure to improve on his horrible start to the season.

The Braves have placed Jason Heyward on the DL with the continued soreness in his right shoulder. Also, the Braves will use lefty Mike Minor in place of Tim Hudson for Wednesday’s start against the Pirates.

The Dodgers lost their game and might lose catcher Rod Barajas and RF Andre Ethier due to injuries suffered during the game.

 

Best of Yesterday May 22

Last Night’s Games  
National  
Colorado 1 Milwaukee 3
Interleague  
Cincinnati 4 Cleveland 12
New York (N) 3 New York (A) 9
Houston 3 Toronto 2
Washington 1 Baltimore 2
Los Angeles (N) 3 Chicago (A) 8
St. Louis 9 Kansas City 8 F/10
Atlanta 1 Los Angeles (A) 4
Tampa Bay 4 Florida 0
Texas 2 Philadelphia 0
Detroit 2 Pittsburgh 0
Seattle 6 San Diego 1
Minnesota 2 Arizona 3
Oakland 4 San Francisco 5 F/11
Chicago (N) 1 Boston 5

 

Top Aces    
Player Team Stats
James Shields W (5-2) TBR 9 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 13 K, BB
Rick Porcello W (4-2) DET 8 IP, 0 R, H, 3 K, 2 BB
Matt Harrison W (4-4) TEX 8 1/3 IP, 0 R, 5 H, 3 K, 3 BB
Felix Hernandez W (5-4) SEA 8 IP, ER, 6 H, 13 K
Tim Wakefield W (1-1) BOS 6 2/3 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 3 K

 

Hitting Heroes    
Player Team Stats
Asdrubal Cabrera CLE 5-5, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 R
Alexei Ramirez CWS 4-5, HR, 5 RBI, 2 R
Yadier Molina STL 4-5, 3 RBI, 2 R
Hunter Pence HOU 2-5, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R
Jerry Sands LAD 4-4, R

 

 

What Happened (!!)Yesterday?

The Royals pitchers walked 13 (!!!!) Cardinals in their 10 inning loss, including walking in two runs in the 10th inning that provided the eventual margin of victory. The umpires were deemed questionable enough that starting catcher Matt Treanor and manager Ned Yost were both ejected for arguing balls and strikes in the 7th inning. There’s no word on the clubhouse damage after the 10th inning walks and final strike call on Royals’ shortstop Alcides Escobar that was borderline at best.

 

Streaks of the Day

  • Brewers Ryan Braun extended his hit streak to 12 games

 

Top Monday Matchups

7:05 EDT Reds (Arroyo 3-4, 4.11) at Phillies (Hamels 5-2, 2.92)

7:05 EDT Red Sox (Buchholz 4-3, 3.42) at Indians (Masterson 5-2, 2.52)

7:05 EDT Rays (Hellickson 5-2, 3.18) at Tigers (Coke 1-5, 3.88)

 

Yesterday’s Balks: 0

AL West Weekly Overview April 12

AL West Weekly Overview April 12

As of April 11      
AL West W L PCT
Texas 9 1 0.900
Los Angeles 5 5 0.500
Oakland 5 5 0.500
Seattle 3 7 0.300

 

Texas Rangers

Pitching

The defending American League champions picked up where they left off last season and have started 2011 as the hottest team in baseball. Although their hitting got the headlines against the Red Sox on opening weekend, their pitching has been phenomenal. Only Colby Lewis has an ERA over 3.00 among the starters and their combined record is 8-1.

Closer Neftali Feliz continues to be great at the end of games with 4 for 4 in save chances. It’s going to be tough for the Rangers pitchers to continue this production, but until they stop, the Rangers will continue to pull away in the AL West.

Lineup

The Rangers offense has been a sabermetrician’s dream as the Rangers are only hitting .265 as a team (6th in AL) and Josh Hamilton, at .316, is their only fulltime .300 hitter. But they are slugging over .500 and have a team OPS of .850 going into April 12. The Rangers have blasted 18 homers and have 24 more extra base hits. When they hit the ball, they’ve been driving it. Both of their new additions, Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli, have hit 3 HRs each. Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler are first and second in the majors in homers.

Overview

The only notable injury that the Rangers have is the spring injury to starter Tommy Hunter. But with the emergence of Matt Harrison, Derek Holland, and Alexi Ogando who are all 2-0 could move Hunter to the bullpen upon his return. Also, offseason pickup Brandon Webb can now take his time in preparing to join the rotation. The Rangers can slowly ease the former NL Cy Young winner back into the fold with the performance of the pitching staff.

The Rangers have been outstanding and these early season performances can’t last an entire season. But you can’t take the wins off the board and there’s no sense for a baseball team to pace itself in this marathon race to win enough games to secure a postseason berth.

The key has been the pitching and the apparent depth that the Rangers have. A team can navigate the regular season with above average to good starting pitching and come out on top with superior hitting. But to win in the postseason, a team needs frontline starters and it will be interesting to see if one of their pitchers can become the kind of ace that can lead a staff through October.

Los Angeles Angels

Pitching

The Angels pitching has been very good through the first 10 games as they have a 3.17 ERA and are ranked fourth in the AL. The problem has been in the bullpen where they have already blown 3 of 6 save opportunities. That’s been addressed with the demotion of Fernando Rodney and the promotion of rookie Jordan Walden to the closer’s role.

Jared Weaver has been outstanding in his three starts as he’s 3-0 with a 0.87 ERA. His 15 strikeout game on Sunday has helped to make him the early favorite for the Cy Young award (I know it’s TOO early). Fellow starters Dan Haren and Ervin Santana have pitched well also and their front 3 should be as good as anybody in the AL. Scott Kazmir has been placed on the DL and could end up in the minors or released if he can’t rediscover his form.

Lineup

The Angels hitters have fared well also as they are hitting .278 (4th in AL) and have a .336 OBP. The numbers get even better if Vernon Wells abysmal production (.091 AVG/.149 OBP/.114 SLG) is stripped away. The only other hitter struggling is #9 hitter Peter Bourjos with a .212 average. The Angels have platooned their catchers and if rookie Hank Conger can win more playing time, this offense should be even better this season.

Overview

The Angels have tried to address this biggest deficiency this season and that’s the bullpen. Time will tell if any more changes need to be made or if they need to acquire a closer. The rotation needs some stability at the back as their 4th and 5th starters have struggled and Scott Kazmir looks like he might be finished as an effective major league pitcher.

Tyler Chatwood was their #2 overall prospect and could be good, but he’s essentially skipping AAA (1 start in 2010) and might need to retrace his steps to the big leagues if he struggles. Joel Pineiro will be back soon and should be able to give the Angels a fourth decent starting pitcher.

The Rangers have run out to their quick start, but the Angels could be right with them if they hadn’t blown those three saves. But even though it’s early, the next week is critical as the Angels complete their Indians series and then head to Chicago to play the White Sox. They don’t want to be struggling as they head to Texas next week for their first matchup with the Rangers.

Oakland Athletics

Pitching

The A’s will go as far as their good young pitching takes them this season. They have the 2nd best ERA in the AL right now and have surrendered the least amount of walks, while striking out the third most in the AL. Trevor Cahill just got rewarded with a long-term contract and he’s pitched well in his 2 starts (1-0 with 1.42 ERA). Dallas Braden is the only starter with an ERA over 4.00 with a 4.15. Gio Gonzalez has been outstanding with his 0.68 ERA and 2-0 record.

In the bullpen, Brian Fuentes has filled in nicely for injured closer Andrew Bailey going 4 for 4 in save opportunities. The rest of the bullpen has struggled some and that’s where the A’s are going to need consistent performance to preserve their good work from their starting pitching. Bailey still hasn’t thrown and isn’t expected back until the end of April at the earliest.

Lineup

David DeJesus leads the A’s regulars with a .250 batting average. Their .224 average is only 11th in the AL and their .280 OBP is 12th. That’s not Moneyball results right there. Daric Barton (.364) and DeJesus (.308) are the only regulars with an OBP over .300. The lineup only has 5 HRs and is slugging .350, which is 9th in the AL. The A’s didn’t start the season with a great lineup and bottom of the lineup regulars Kevin Kouzmanoff (.182 AVG/.194 OBP/.242 SLG) and Cliff Pennington (.160/.154/.160) could be on the chopping block if they don’t turn around.

Overview

The A’s struggling offense needs veterans like Hideki Matsui, Coco Crisp, and Mark Ellis all need to produce to give their pitchers a chance. If they continue to struggle, the A’s will inevitably continue to fall behind the Rangers and Angels and might fall too far back to make a comeback.

The A’s pitching has been as good as advertised and will be the key for their chances in the AL West this season. GM Billy Beane is as good as any GM at wheeling and dealing in the middle of the season to acquire the pieces needed to win a spot in the postseason. If the A’s pitchers can keep the A’s close to .500, then Beane will find a way to bolster the lineup before the trade deadline.

The  A’s have a couple more in Chicago before heading home to face the struggling Tigers. That should provide the offense an opportunity to get things turned around.

Seattle Mariners

Pitching

The Mariners staff has pitched as poorly as the lineup has hit. The M’s are 11th in the AL in ERA at 4.81 despite playing all but 3 games in Oakland or at Safeco. Last year’s Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez had a poor start on Monday night, but the offense ironically rallied to win the game. He’s 1-1 now with a 4.50 ERA. The Mariners are going to need to find other starters to pitch well consistently in order to stay alive in the AL West. Doug Fister has pitched well (2.31 ERA) but is 0-2 due to poor run support. But Jason Vargas and Eric Bedard have only pitched 19 innings in their four starts.

The bullpen has been as inconsistent as the starters and they are going to be tasked with holding the games close to give their offense a chance for more late inning rallies like the one on Monday against Cleveland.

Lineup

Not much was expected out of this group and they have met expectations. Even Ichiro is batting below .300 and the team is hitting .225 (10th in AL). Their 5 HRs are tied for 12th in the AL and their .327 slugging is 13th in the AL. The lineup is going to heavily rely on Milton Bradley, Jack Cust, and the development of Justin Smoak for power. If they don’t produce, and Cust hasn’t yet, the Mariners could approach triple digit losses.

The Mariners lineup showed some resiliency in their late game comeback against the Indians from a 7-1 deficit going into the 8th inning on Monday night. They are going to need more timely hitting and walks to offset their lack of HR power.

Overview

The Mariners obviously need King Felix to pitch like he has in recent seasons and hope that they score enough to reward his efforts. But for any chance at remaining in the AL West race this season, the other starters have to be effective. Fister has done well and needs to continue but they really need Bedard to be the pitcher they thought they were acquiring three years ago.

The Mariners have a couple more with the Jays and then go to Kansas City for four games with the Royals. Those are the games that the Mariners have to win to remain alive in the AL West through at least April and early May. It’s early, but losses to other teams expected to be below .500 would make their chances for a winning season almost impossible.

Seattle Mariners Opening Day Overview

Seattle Mariners Opening Day Overview

Manager: Eric Wedge     GM: Jack Zduriencik

  Lineup:
1 RF Ichiro Suzuki
2 3B Chone Figgins
3 LF Milton Bradley
4 DH Jack Cust
5 1B Justin Smoak
6 C Miguel Olivo
7 CF Ryan Langerhans/Franklin Gutierrez
8 SS Brendan Ryan
9 2B Jack Wilson

 

Ichiro has led the AL in hits 7 of the 10 season he’s been in Seattle. Despite leading the AL last year, his averages dropped and the Mariners are going to need him to get back to his normal levels to make a surprise run at the AL West title. He had an OPS of only .753 last season and a return to his career average of .806 is what the Mariners need.

Figgins was signed away from the rival Angels and all of his production declined both offensively and defensively. He’s back at third base this season after playing at second last year and the Mariners hope that his bat reverts back to 2009 form as well. Figgins hit a career low .256 last year and slugged an atrocious .306, which is .070 points below his career average. The M’s need him to go back to being that dynamic top of the order hitter who gets on back to walking more and taking advantage of the size of Safeco to leg out extra base hits.

The Mariners are hoping that Bradley can stay in control this season, first and foremost. When focused on the game, Bradley is a talented hitter with solid power that can drive in runs. Last season he only hit .205 for the M’s. All the Mariners need again is an average season out of Bradley. He’s has a career .809 OPS that highlights a very good ability to draw walks. That kind of production would be just fine for first year manager Eric Wedge.   

Cust comes over from the A’s and can’t help but improve the atrocious production that the Mariners received last season at DH. Cust is an on-base machine as his .378 career OBP with only a .245 AVG would indicate. He’s shown very good power as well before last year’s drop off. With a solid pitching performance, the Mariners are just asking for another average season where Cust can exceed a .800 OPS and create some runs.

Smoak was the key part of the Cliff Lee trade to the Rangers last summer. He struggled in his rookie season last year after coming through the minors at an accelerated pace. He’s got good power potential and showed an ability to walk in the minors. If he can hit above .260 and get over 50 extra base hits, the Mariners should be satisfied with the results.

Olivo has bounced around over the years and the 32 year old is a solid receiver who has shown some good power in his various stops. This is his second stop in Seattle and the Mariners hope that it goes better this time. If he produces like he has over the past 5 seasons, then the Mariners should be happy. He’s averaged about 16 HRs and hit in the .250s during that time.

Langerhans is the injury replacement for Gutierrez. Hopefully for the Mariners, they don’t have to go with Langerhans that long because the only contribution that he makes offensively is by walking. Gutierrez dropped off last season after hitting well in 2009 after coming over from the Indians. In 2009, he hit 18 HRs and batter .283 while getting an OPS of .764. While that isn’t a great OPS, it’s pretty decent for a very good defensive centerfielder that hits mostly in a pitcher’s park.

Ryan is the temporary shortstop for this season and maybe a little next year before top prospect Nick Franklin makes it up to Safeco. Ryan comes over from the Cardinals where he hit well every other year. With his average being better during odd years, the Mariners can only hope for a return to his .292 of 2009. If not, then 2B Jack Wilson can slide over when Dustin Ackley comes up to play second.

Wilson is now at second warming the seat for the Mariners #1 prospect Dustin Ackley. With $5M coming his way this year, Wilson could be traded if he shows any ability to hit. He only played in 61 games last season and the 33 year old veteran of losing teams probably won’t last the season at 2B in Seattle. The best case scenario for the Mariners would be a hot start by Wilson followed by a call from a team needing a middle infielder.

  Starting Pitching
1 RHP Felix Hernandez
2 LHP Jason Vargas
3 RHP Doug Fister
4 LHP Eric Bedard
5 RHP Michael Pineda

 

Felix was the 2010 Cy Young winner in Seattle despite not winning. Nobody in the AL had better numbers than the King last year. With some decent run support, an encore performance could earn Felix 18-20 wins and another Cy Young.

Vargas pitched decently in his first full season with the Mariners. He’s not a future star, but he was able to compile a 2-1 K-BB ratio and give up less than a homer per game. If he can do that again this season with better run support, he might win 12-14 games.

Fister defied the percentages for awhile last season as he was surprisingly among the league leaders in ERA in May, but came back to Earth as the season progressed. Without any hard stuff it’s tough to imagine Fister being anything better than an average performer in this rotation. He’s probably going to be targeted for replacement by one of their top prospects if gets hit hard early. The Mariners would be thrilled if he could repeat last season’s performance and win double digit games with more run support.

Bedard was expected to be a top of the rotation starter when the Mariners got him from the Orioles before 2008. But Bedard hasn’t been healthy and missed all of last season with a shoulder injury. If he can come close to the pitcher that he was in Baltimore during 2006 and 2007, then the Mariners are a legitimate threat in the AL West. He won 28 games over those two seasons and led the AL in ERA in 2007 with a 2.71. His combined numbers in Seattle have been solid, but he hasn’t started more than 15 games in a season. If he can provide at least 4 months of pitching the way he’s pitched over his career, then he can win 10-12 games and help the Mariners stay in contention.

Pineda is the Mariners top pitching prospect and will be the 5th starter. He’s got explosive stuff as he’s been clocked at over 100 MPH. He pitched well but dealt with some bad luck at AAA last year after dominating the first half at AA. He’s good enough to enter the AL ROY conversation if he stays the whole season, keeps his ERA under 3.50 and wins 12-14 games. That’s all doable if the offense helps out.

  Bullpen
CL RHP Brandon League/David Aardsma(DL)
SET RHP Chris Ray
  RHP Josh Lueke
  LHP Aaron Laffey
  RHP David Pauley
  RHP Jamey Wright
  RHP Tom Wilhelmsen

 

Aardsma starts the season on the DL and League will fill in. Aardsma will miss the first few weeks with a hip injury. Aardsma brings the heat and has done well in two seasons with the Mariners. His 2-1 K-BB ratio is nice, but if he could lower the walks and increase that ratio to 3 to 1, then he could enter the top echelon of closers. League has a great split finger pitch that helped him strikeout better than one per inning. He struggled a little last year but a return to his 2009 numbers would be huge for the Mariners, especially with Aardsma’s issues.

Ray pitched well for the Giants and Rangers last year and won a ring. He was a solid closer with the Orioles before undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2007. He improved in his second year back last season and could be a valuable contributor in the 7th and 8th innings this season.

Lueke has a world of talent but has had problems in the past. If he’s able to put it together on the mound, he’s got the potential to be a top closer some day.

Laffey is a lefty who will probably be called upon to be a situational reliever. Pauley pitched decently last season in the rotation and could return there if there are some issues. Otherwise he’s probably in the middle relief group and can do long relief as well. Wright is a veteran righty and will used in long relief. Wilhelmsen is an older prospect who once retired for four years after being suspended for a season in the Brewers organization. He’s 27 now, he’s big, and he throws hard. The Mariners are intrigued enough to see if they can find him a role.

  Farm Prospects who could help in 2011
1 2B Dustin Ackley
2 LHP Maurecio Robles
3 RHP Dan Cortes

 

Ackley is a big time hitter who’s adequate as a fielder. He was drafted as a first baseman and might end up back there someday. He should be up by June as he’s most likely in the minors to avoid early arbitration. Robles is a top starting prospect who could get the call if he’s impressive at AAA and they need to upgrade the rotation. Cortes is a potential closer who could be called upon if there’s problems in the pen.

Three Questions:

1. Can the Mariners score a run this season?

  • That’s a joke, but seriously the Mariners had incredible difficulty generating offense last season and the biggest indication of that was 13 game winner Felix Hernandez taking home the Cy Young award. Never before had a starter win the award with so few victories. The good news is that almost their entire prospective lineup performed worse than their career averages and they should expect a correction to their averages, right?

2. Can the Mariners young pitchers make them the surprise team of 2011?

  • The Mariners have young Michael Pineda as their 5th starter and a couple of other young arms in the bullpen. In addition, they have a really good starting prospect in Robles and a good reliever with Cortes who could contribute as well. Remember, Felix is only 25. This young group could develop quickly and help the Mariners get back on top quickly.

3. Will the constant calls (on the east coast) for Felix to be traded subside?

  • It seems like a day doesn’t go by where either people in Boston or New York aren’t coming up with ridiculous trade proposals to bring Felix Hernandez to their town. What those people don’t realize is that it’s completely unrealistic since Felix is signed through 2014. Why would anybody who can afford his contract, which the Mariners can, trade the best young pitcher in baseball?

 

Projection

The Mariners have loads of upside especially if their lineup can perform to their career averages. It might sound obvious, but everybody on last year’s team performed well below their typical levels and it resulted in an atrocious offensive output. In addition, if the Mariners can work some of their young pitching into the mix, they might have enough depth to deal for some more offense at the trade deadline. While it’s going to take good seasons by a lot of their players, the Mariners have a realistic chance at winning in the mid to high 80s and being in contention for the AL West title.