In another season filled with injuries, the Seattle Mariners tied for third in the AL West with a 78-84 record, missing the playoffs. With ace James Paxton finally breaking out, the Ms had some moves to make. Let\’s take a look at what they did.
Notable additions: CF (?) Dee Gordon, 1B Ryon Healy, OF Ichiro Suzuki, RHP Juan Nicasio, RHP Nick Rumbelow, RHP Chasen Bradford, LHP Dario Alvarez, RHP Mike Morin, OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis.
Notable subtractions: 1B Danny Valencia, CF Jarrod Dyson, C Carlos Ruiz, RHP Sam Gaviglo, RHP Yovani Gallardo, RHP Emilio Pagan, 1B Yonder Alonso.
What they did well: Despite a horrible farm system, the M\’s were able to get good deals on both Gordon and Healy, with Pagan being the only roster player going out.
Sneaky sleeper: Injuries limited Mitch Haniger to just 96 games in 2017, but he was solid in them, with 16 homers and a .352 OBP. If Haniger can stay healthy all year in 2018, watch out for him.
Incoming outbreak: He will probably start the season on the DL, but watch out for Ben Gamel when he returns. Gamel hit .275 with 11 homers in his surprise rookie season, and also can leadoff with his speed. This could be Gamel\’s year.
Unsuspected slump: It\’s not a secret anymore. King Felix, aka Felix Hernandez isn\’t very good. Felix had a 4.36 ERA last season, below league average. He is still treated like an ace, but isn\’t.
Blue-chip Bopper: Either Nelson Cruz, who hit 39 homers and drove in 119 runs while batting .288, or Robinson Cano, who drove in 97 and hit .280. I\’ll go with Cruz, who has been dominant in the last couple of seasons.
Astounding ace: Injuries limited James Paxton as well in 2017, but he was amazing in his 136 innings, striking out 156 batters with his 2.98 ERA. The Maple Leaf has a great chance to show everybody his potential this season.
Here\’s their projected roster, starting with their lineup.
CF Dee Gordon (L)
SS Jean Segura (R)
2B Robinson Cano (L)
DH Nelson Cruz (R)
3B Kyle Seager (L)
C Mike Zunino (R)
1B Ryon Healy (R)
RF Mitch Haniger (R)
LF Guillermo Heredia (R)
Here\’s their rotation.
RHP Felix Hernandez
LHP James Paxton
LHP Ariel Miranda
RHP Mike Leake
RHP Erasmo Ramirez
Edwin Diaz (R) is their closer, with Nick Vincent (R), Mark Rzepczynski (L), Juan Nicasio (R), James Pazos (L) and Dan Altavilla (R) in the bullpen.
1B Dan Vogelbach (L), C Tuffy Gosewisch (R), OF Ichiro Suzuki (L) and INF Taylor Motter (R) are on the bench.
Finally, for my prediction, I think the Mariners, a really good team, will just barely miss the playoffs due to pitching in 2018.