October 25, 2011

Seattle Mariners Offseason Preview

Marred with poor contracts (Bradley-$13mil, Figgins-$9.5mil), light hitting (especially at power positions), and a wave of inexperience led to a last place finish in the AL West and one of the worst records in baseball this year. By no means can I sugar-coat the light hitting. The Mariners ranked dead last in the AL in Avg., OBP, SLG, and OPS. That’s not just bad, that’s awful, abhorrent, appalling, and revolting (http://thesaurus.com). Having said that, there are some bright spots for true Mariners fans to look forward to. Pitching. Seattle has it. With one of the most dominant starting pitchers in the game, King Felix, it’s hard not to, but with the young Michael Pineda stepping up, and showing his ace material, that proves to be a great 1-2 punch. Keeping with the pitching, the Mariners showed some serious control by issuing the least amount of walks, and having the 3rd lowest WHIP of any AL staff.
 That’s definitely something to build off of. The hitting is where massive improvement needs to be made (beating a dead horse?). With the wave of youngsters coming up, it may take awhile to do that. Smoak showed signs early that he could be a decent cornerstone, but he needs to stay on the field, and develop some stamina to do so. Ackley illustrated why he was ranked #1 in all of baseball in the minors. With a small adjustment period, he really started killing the ball. Mike Carp was a nice surprise, but can he be the west coasts version of Mike Morse? History says no, but my heart really wants him to. All in all there are some bright spots, but there’s just not enough here for the Mariners to make any kind of run at the AL West crown.

Projected 2012 Lineup
C- M. Olivo
1B- J. Smoak
2B- D.Ackley
3B- C.Figgins
SS- N.Franklin
LF- T.Robinson
CF- F.Gutierrez
RF- I.Suzuki
DH- M.Carp

Rotation
1. F. Hernandez
2. J. Vargas
3. M. Pineda
4. B. Beavan
5. C. Furbush
6. A. Vasquez
CL- B. League

Prospects
  1. N. Franklin - SS
  2. G. Pimentel – OF
  3. T. Walker – SP
  4. M. Robles – SP
  5. F. Martinez – 2B

With $40+mil coming off the books in 2012, and even more in 2013, it’s hard to imagine Seattle not being a “hotspot” for a big name free agent to end up, however, I don’t think they make a big splash in the 2012 offseason. Seattle still needs to assess how “real” Carp, Ackley, Robinson, Franklin, frankly, their whole team, are. They don’t want to go out, purchase a big name free agent, and block one of their hot prospects. I see them setting up to make a bigger splash in the 2013. The free agent class is a little flusher with impact bats they need more (Wright, Youkilis, Bourn, Napoli, Either, Kemp, etc.) Now I’m not saying they’ll get any of those guys, but what their team looks like now, and what I think their current plan is, rebuild from the ground up, they don’t need to go spending wildly this winter. With that being said, I see Figgins, League, and probably Olivo being shopped to free up more money, and acquire more young talent in 2012.

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