Sunday, March 8, 2009
#26 Seattle Mariners
Last Year: 61-101 Last in AL West
This Year: Last in AL West
Last year the Mariners entered the season with great expectations. They had added Erik Bedard and Carlos Silva to a team that finished 88-74. They were hoping to contend with the Angels for the division title. It all unraveled very quickly. Bedard was never healthy, Silva threw batting practice for the opponent, and Richie Sexson became a joke batting .218 and they ended up with 101 losses. This year does not figure to be an improvement as they lost Raul Ibanez and J.J. Putz, and Ichiro is not getting any younger. They added Ken Griffey Jr. in a move to draw a crowd not to win games. They are in serious rebuilding mode.
Opening Day Lineup w/Projections
RF Ichiro Suzuki .321 6 HR 42 RBI 36 SB
2B Jose Lopez .291 19 HR 92 RBI
3B Adrian Beltre .271 25 HR 85 RBI
1B Russell Branyan .241 14 HR 57 RBI
CF Franklin Gutierrez .258 15 HR 53 RBI
DH Jeff Clement .247 15 HR 52 RBI
LF Ken Griffey Jr. .245 14 HR 62 RBI
C Kenji Johjima .259 9 HR 44 RBI
SS Yuniesky Betancourt .284 9 HR 57 RBI
RHP Felix Hernandez 12-12 3.32 ERA 183 K
LHP Erik Bedard 9-13 3.79 ERA 184 K
LHP Jarrod Washburn 5-9 4.78 ERA 104 K
RHP Carlos Silva 4-16 5.97 ERA 73 K
LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith 6-9 4.15 ERA 104 K
CP RHP Mark Lowe 4.47 ERA 19 SV 55 K
Best Case Scenario: Bedard stays healthy and both he and Hernandez have Cy Young caliber seasons. Jeff Clement comes into his own and becomes the cleanup hitter. Ichiro fights off aging and produces as only Ichiro can. Either Mike Morse or Wladimir Balentien take over the corner outfield spot so the Mariners don't have to run Griffey out there. The team wins 70 games.
Worst Case Scenario: Bedard sneezes putting him on IR for the season. They have to use Carlos Silva every 5th day. The team's batting average is .245 and they have to keep Russell Branyan as the clean-up hitter. This team losses 100 games again.
Player Most Important to Success: Brandon Morrow. He is very similar to Joba Chamberlain. The team can not figure out what to do with him. Last year he was in the bullpen and filled in as a closer very well. Early indications is that they are trying to make him a starter this year. He has very good stuff. If he can find his role as a starter and give the team a solid 3rd starter this team can be a decent team. If he struggles with his role similar to Chamberlain last year this team will be in trouble and they lack any pitching depth behind Hernandez and Bedard.
Outlook: This team has two top-notch starters. It is hard to imagine that Hernandez is still only 22 years old and he has already thrown 666 innings. It is a shame he has to spend it on this Seattle team that will offer very little in support. If you have Russell Branyan in the 4-hole and relying on Ken Griffey to provide offense you are not in good position. This team is full of guys who will struggle to hit .250 and that does not lead to a lot of victories especially considering none of them are going to hit 30 home runs. It is also likely that Seattle will continue to rebuild trading Beltre and maybe Bedard if he healthy and effective. It will be a long season in Seattle.