Photo courtesy of mlb.com
By Ross Sutton
The Mariners missed the playoffs again last year, finishing tied for third place in the AL west with a 78-84 record. Seattle has had a pretty active offseason so far acquiring Dee Gordon, Ryon Healy, Juan Nicasio and Ichiro. The main players from last year’s roster that will not return in 2018 are Jarrod Dyson (D-backs), Yonder Alonso (Indians), Danny Valencia (Orioles), Yovani Gallardo (Brewers), and Carlos Ruiz. The most notable of these moves was when the Mariners acquired Dee Gordon from the Marlins. Initially, this was a surprising move as the Mariners already had all-star Robinson Cano playing second base where has Dee Gordon played his whole career. The Mariners then announced that they were going to move Gordon to center field and the move suddenly made a lot more sense. This trade was a little bit risky since Gordon would have to learn an entirely new and different position, but most believe Gordon will make an easy transition due to his great speed and athleticism.
As the Mariners have not made the playoffs since Ichiro first broke onto the scene in 2001, the team is desperate to make it to the dance this year. The best part of the Mariners team is their offense, which is centered around Robinson Cano and the ageless Nelson Cruz. These two stars are supported by players such as Kyle Seager, Jean Segura and outfielders Mitch Haniger, Ben Gamel, and Dee Gordon. Seattle’s offense has a great combination of power, speed, youth, and experience. The offense has not been the problem over the last few years as the Mariners’ pitching has disappointed. Their starting rotation features Felix Hernandez, Mike Leake, James Paxton and the final two spots are up for grabs by whoever distinguishes themselves during spring training. If the Mariners are playing well when the trade deadline comes along, they will likely be looking to add another starting pitcher in order to bolster their rotation. Seattle’s bullpen consists of Edwin Diaz, David Phelps, Marc Rzepczynski, and Nick Vincent. Diaz was last year’s closer and he performed well so he will likely be the teams closer again in 2018 but it would benefit the Mariners to trade for another arm or two during the season to add to the bullpen. In my opinion, the Mariners still have a few too many holes on the current roster that need to be addressed via trade. As the roster currently stands, I predict that the team will finish with a 80-82 record and miss the playoffs yet again. If the offense plays well enough and can carry the team leading up to the trade deadline, the Mariners could definitely be in the market for a couple of pitchers that could put them over the hump and into the playoffs in 2018.
Follow @Nosebleed_MLB for more!