Randy Lind catching a ball at a Seattle Mariner's game

A look back at the Mariner’s Season, My Predictions, & the Future

Well, not too bad of a prediction about the Mariner’s season, huh? Other than the Ichiro comments I mean.

 

The REAL Surprises for the Mariner’s this year:

Edwin Diaz – Who’d a thunk this guy was going to be a consistent, lights out reliever, all year long for us? Without him, the Mariners would certainly not have gotten to the level of wins that they achieved.

Kyle Seager – What a bummer of a season. Is this guy on the downslide? I don’t know, but at the salary he takes away from the overall team budget, we need a lot more production out of him than we saw this year! A lot more!!

Robinson Cano – Really? After all of his years, and experience, did he not know that he would get busted if he took PED’s? I understand as he ages it is harder to come back from even slight injuries. I believe this is an indication he will wear down and spend time on the injured list next year – another huge drain on the overall salary chart. The decision should be to start him, but give him a day or two of rest every week in order to preserve his health, or perhaps, have him fill in at DH. The other alternative would be to trade him, but who in their right mind is going to pay the outlandish salary he carries for a one-time great player who is definitely on the downslide?

Mitch Hanniger– Although I listed him as a good player and a good hitter with mass potential, I did not quite expect the level of production he supplied this year. What a great surprise, and asset, for next year! Stay healthy Mitch!

Marco Gonzales – He was an unknown who had a great year and there is nothing to say he can’t do the same next year (or even better).

Wade LeBlanc – Ditto

 

The Told Ya So’s:

Felix Hernandez – I knew he would be injured and unproductive. My prediction had him winning 8 games and that final number was right on the money! He will be another huge drain on the overall salary budget for next year, with next to zero production to be expected.

Dee Gordon – I had a strong suspicion that he was going to be good – not quite superstar material, but very good, young, and full of potential. He delivered and I look forward to seeing him improve next year.

Mike Leake – As predicted, he ate up a lot of innings and finished with a respectable record. At 10 wins and 10 losses, he is definitely a keeper. A few different pitches here and there, or a few more runs, for support, and the number of wins could easily improve next year.

Mike Zunnino – Need I say anything? Okay I will. He’s exactly “what you see is what you get”. I think we stick with him 100 % knowing he is a great defensive player and a great field general who calls a great game. Plus he has a great rapport with his pitchers. AND he occasionally launches a monster home run!

Win predictions – With my pre-season prediction capped at 91 (as a ceiling prediction) and 82 (as actual wins prediction), I was pretty much on the money with a result of 89 wins.

 

The Future:

The Mariner’s brass has a lot to take in and think about. The real question is do we blow this thing up and start from scratch? Or do they think they have the nucleus of a really good team that just needs some tweaking?  Personally, I think it’s somewhere in between.

Things to consider for next year:

  • Age:

We have a number of aging players, that are not what they once were, and are going to continue to decline 2)High salaries  3) A very thin minor league prospect pool.

A) Robinson Cano – He has shown his age the last couple of years with injuries and a decrease in the level of performance that he once supplied. PED use is a continued concern, as he tries to keep up with the youngsters.

B) Nelson Cruz – He is still hugely productive, but will he be in decline the upcoming year? I think yes. He is a free agent and will receive a pretty hefty salary based on the productive year he had. I love the guy and he looks like he has a lot of fun on the field and with his teammates. But depending on the salary he’ll be looking for, and the number of years he is asking for, I think we need to think seriously about a replacement. Just look at Felix and his salary.

C) And speaking of Felix– He is the king, and always will be, but I think we all see the writing on the wall. And that writing says Felix is pretty much done. We can’t trade his huge salary, and we can’t expect a lot of production from him moving forward.

D) Kyle Seager – Can someone be old at 30 years of age? He sure seems to support the argument  It’s weird how some people can be a young 40 and others can be an old 30. I’m not saying he’s washed up or anything like that, but if he continues to play the way he did this year, then I would say age catching up to him could be the only answer.

  • High Salaries

A) Robinson Cano – are you seeing a trend? Yes, he is one of our aging players who is also taking up a lot of salary space on the roster. I don’t think he will be worth the money we are committing to him for the level of production we can expect him to supply. Furthermore, the trade value is not there, making this an unviable option.  STUCK!!

B) Felix Hernandez – Ditto!

C) Nelson Cruz – Yes he was a very productive player for us this year, but at 38, how many more productive years does he have left? 1 or 2 is my guess. If he’s looking for a multi-year deal, is it worth spending 5 years of salary to get 1 or 2 years worth of production? Answer – no.

D) Kyle Seager – Draining a ton of salary without supplying the production. Period. Should we pay a player for good third base defensive skills and a known “late starter” at the plate? This year he was not only a late starter, but one could say he never really did get started! Possible trade bait (if teams are willing to take the risk of paying him for his previous production – not likely).

 

Thoughts About Changes

  • Infield

1st base: I like Ryan Healy. He was pretty productive, adequate defensively, and a bargain salary.

2nd base: Robinson Cano – His better years are behind him. He’s likely to miss more time due to injury. Trading his salary is unlikely but worth a try if we can come up with an innovative bundle or take on part of his salary, perhaps we could trade him.  I think we bring Dee Gordon back to this position of choice.

SS: Jean Segura – A pretty good player but a terrible attitude. I remember one game when I saw our center fielder, I think it might have been Maybin, completely lay out for a ball. He ended up crashing into the wall and landed on his head and was obviously hurt, but stayed in the game. You never heard another peep. He didn’t miss a game.  Next inning, Segura gets thrown out at second base. He is barely, and I mean barely, grazed across the head by the other player’s knee. Drama ensued and he came out of the game and to my recollection, missed the next game if not more. I remember another time that he slid and had to come out of the game.

From my view, he doesn’t look like a team player and will not play if he is nicked up in the slightest. Is it a coincidence that he gets in a “brawl” with Dee Gordon whose one of the most upbeat and inspirational players on the team? I think not. Great player, terrible attitude, a ton of trade value. Get rid of him for a player of equal ability or potential.

3rd base: Kyle Seager – I think his hungry years are over. I think we will continue to see much of the same that we saw this year. He got his big contract after playing pretty darn good year in year out despite his “late start” every single year. If you can find a team to take on his salary and trade you a young player with potential, then I would not hesitate to pull the trigger.

Catcher: How many catchers can you REALLY count on to be a better than average offensive player? Not many. Be careful what you wish for. We’ve got a really good defensive catcher who knows the game and works well with the pitchers. Don’t ruin a good thing in the hopes you get a dream come true. Stick with Zunnino. He’s our guy.

DH: Nelson Cruz is the man!! He’s been awesome! BUT…..he is getting older and he is going to require a substantial salary. And if that salary is a multi-year deal….well, we covered that earlier. Can we get a hometown discount? By that I mean that I know he likes being here and he enjoys his teammates (which is obvious). If we can, then great, but don’t count on his production to be there in another year or two. Shop around. Who else is available? What about Cano at DH?

  • Outfield

Mitch Hanniger – Do nothing!! He is far and away our best player in the outfield. He hits for power and percentage and is a great defensive player to boot! And he also comes at a very reasonable price

Ben Gammel – I’m not sure why we picked up Maybin and decided to send Gammel to the minors! I think he is a more than an adequate player. The hustle and positive attitude he puts forth add a whole different dimension to the team. Not everything can be measured in home runs and hits etc. What he brings is a very important aspect to the team. I think he starts in the outfield alongside Hanniger.

Dee Gordon was good at center field, but we need him at second base and a bigger bat in the outfield.

That leaves center field – WE NEED A QUALITY OUTFIELDER!! One with some speed and some pop. Aside from pitching, this is the position we need to look at in the offseason.

 

A Brief Look at Starting Pitching

James Paxton – Great pitcher, the ace of the staff.

Felix – won’t be a factor.

Mike Leake – Servicable.  Eats up innings and gets you some wins.

Wade Leblanc – Complete surprise and a luxury. I think we can count on him for more of the same next year.

Marco Gonzales – Ditto and flashes of brilliance! A lot to look forward to with Marco.

WE NEED ONE MORE PITCHER FOR THE ROTATION (at least). It’d be great if we could find a number two, but if not, maybe Marco or Wade could slide in there which would allow us the luxury of putting a 3rd or 4th (with potential) into that position.

 

Relief Pitching

That is a category unto itself, but I think we’ve got quality middle relievers and obviously one of the best closers in baseball with Diaz. Keep it together and possibly make some trades to bolster our minor league roster.

We’ll see what happens in spring and make predictions from there.

 

What are your thoughts on this season and the Mariner’s future?

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