2010 Seattle Mariners Preview

The Mariners Won the Offseason, Will It Translate On The Field? [2010 Seattle Mariners Preview]

3/17/10 in MLB   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Last year, the Mariners broke from the reign of error under former GM Bill Bavasi in a big way. Under the helm of GM Jack Zduriencik and manager Don Wakamatsu, the M’s improved from a dismal 61-101 in 2008 to an 85-77 record last year. Jack Z. continued his retooling in the offseason, and Seattle is generally considered one of the winners of the hot stove league. Will the Mariners take another step up and into contention?

Key Additions: Cliff Lee, Chone Figgins, Milton Bradley, Brandon League, Casey Kotchman, Ryan Garko, Eric Byrnes

Key Subtractions: Adrian Beltre, Russ Branyan, Kenji Johjima, Brandon Morrow, Carlos Silva

Projected Lineup
RF Ichiro Suzuki
3B Chone Figgins
CF Franklin Gutierrez
2B Jose Lopez
LF Milton Bradley
DH Ken Griffey, Jr.
1B Casey Kotchman
C Rob Johnson
SS Jack Wilson

Projected Rotation

RHP Felix Hernandez
LHP Cliff Lee
LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith
RHP Ian Snell
RHP Doug Fister
(LHP Erik Bedard should factor once/if healthy)

Closer: RHP David Aardsma

Strengths

Defense, defense, defense. The Mariners road back to respectability was paved with a plan to improve the team’s defense, and it paid off in spades. The focal point of this improvement is center fielder Franklin Gutierrez, who was acquired for basically nothing from Cleveland. Depending on which advanced stat you use, Gutierrez saved somewhere between 25 and 31 runs last season, a staggering amount. The scouting reports agree with the numbers: Gutierrez is the best defensive outfield in the game today. The defensive acquisitions continued with Jack Wilson at last year’s deadline, and yet again with the offseason signing of Chone Figgins. Those three, plus Ichiro doing his usual work and above average gloves almost everywhere else, will equal another top notch defense in Seattle.

Felix Hernandez had the best season of his career in 2009, and would’ve been the Cy Young winner if it weren’t for Zack Greinke’s brilliance. This offseason, of course, the M’s acquired Cliff Lee to form the best 1-2 starting punch in baseball. Lee will likely test free agency after this year, so he’s likely a rental, but you can’t get a much better rental than that. It already paid dividends when King Felix signed a long-term extension. The team also resigned Erik Bedard to a cheap deal, giving them a low risk opportunity to see if Bedard can recover from a torn labrum to become something like what he once was.

Weaknesses

The defense, pitching, and ballpark all contribute to the M’s being great at run prevention. The problem is the M’s haven’t figured out the run scoring part of the equation yet. Seattle ranked 14th in the AL in runs scored, and while there are some improvements, it’s still a weak spot. The big improvement will be Figgins, who will pair with Ichiro in providing baserunners at the top of the order. After that, it gets dicey. Gutierrez and Lopez are the designated run producer, but Gutierrez doesn’t have that kind of power (but is a fine hitter otherwise), while Lopez has the power but a career .303 OBP.

After that is a glut of flawed options at top offensive positions 1B/DH/LF. Milton Bradley is the best option, but he’s never been able to hit for power, stay healthy, and behave himself all at the same time. Everyone loves Ken Griffey Jr., but another .214/.324/.411 season won’t cut it. Kotchman is an attempt to patch something together at first, but he’s probably not any better than the departed Russ Branyan. Prospect Michael Saunders will probably get a shot at some point, and could be a better option than any of these guys.

Hernandez and Lee can be dominant in a short playoff series, but you need the other starters to get to the playoffs, and the back half of the rotation is a question mark. Ryan Rowland-Smith has talent, but hasn’t put it together yet. Ian Snell’s believed breakthrough season in Pittsburgh is now 3 years old, and it’s been all downhill since. The rest of the options are less than desirable, and of course, no one knows what Bedard will be capable of giving.

Prediction

In just two years, the Mariners have recovered from a disaster to what most believe will be a contending team. Offense is still an issue, but with their combination of pitching and defense, good luck scoring on them. With the Angels having lost some key parts (including Figgins), the Rangers pitching still being a bit of a question mark, and the A’s looking a few years away, this is the year Seattle gets back to the playoffs, finishing with an 88-74 record to win the AL West.

What are you thoughts on the 2010 Seattle Mariners?
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3/23/10   |   radiowave000   |   145 respect

Mariners and Rangers will battle for the West...Angels take a step back

3/20/10   |   nk1956   |   475 respect

No team with Milton Bradley on their roster will EVER win again!



NEW CURSE OF THE BILLY GOAT

3/19/10   |   Boski93   |   375 respect

Boski93 wrote:
Excellent article Jess. The M's have emerged from the flaming wreckage that was the Bavasi Era or Error depending on how you look at it. Maybe the Zduriencik can pull off the same magic Bill Stoneman did with the Angels, who in three seasons after taking over for another grease fire started by Bavasi, got the Halo's a ring.  Now they have set a foundation, with a defense that greatly helped a young pitching staff. The M's did a fantastic job of gobbling up potential hits and limiting the damage of the one that did land. Now it comes down to finding the right blend of offense to the team without disrupting the defensive harmony that is set. That is why I like the Figgins pick up, I still miffed the White Sox never pulled the trigger to get him. The other offensive players they are bringing do not register a lot of excitement , and I am not going to even touch Milton Bradley, but then he is crazy enough to have a great season and get along with everyone. As for the hurlers, they did not sell the farm to get Lee. Lee and Felix is a nice duo, it comes down to the kids and the tender wing Bedard. As for the pen, the M's have been able to harness the arm of Aardasma and make his the closer, but they managed him carefully. It will be interesting to see if they continue to only bring him in situations with no runners on.

The M's have come a long way in a short period of time, I think they will be the ones to give the Angels a run for their money, even more so than the Rangers. I see at least 86 -89 wins, finishing no lower than 2nd.

Gearhead you did a fantastic job and to let you know, I am heading out to my car to try to run myself over for this gaffe.

3/19/10   |   Boski93   |   375 respect

Boski93 wrote:
Excellent article Jess. The M's have emerged from the flaming wreckage that was the Bavasi Era or Error depending on how you look at it. Maybe the Zduriencik can pull off the same magic Bill Stoneman did with the Angels, who in three seasons after taking over for another grease fire started by Bavasi, got the Halo's a ring.  Now they have set a foundation, with a defense that greatly helped a young pitching staff. The M's did a fantastic job of gobbling up potential hits and limiting the damage of the one that did land. Now it comes down to finding the right blend of offense to the team without disrupting the defensive harmony that is set. That is why I like the Figgins pick up, I still miffed the White Sox never pulled the trigger to get him. The other offensive players they are bringing do not register a lot of excitement , and I am not going to even touch Milton Bradley, but then he is crazy enough to have a great season and get along with everyone. As for the hurlers, they did not sell the farm to get Lee. Lee and Felix is a nice duo, it comes down to the kids and the tender wing Bedard. As for the pen, the M's have been able to harness the arm of Aardasma and make his the closer, but they managed him carefully. It will be interesting to see if they continue to only bring him in situations with no runners on.

The M's have come a long way in a short period of time, I think they will be the ones to give the Angels a run for their money, even more so than the Rangers. I see at least 86 -89 wins, finishing no lower than 2nd.

Point, point away sir. I am not a smart or an observant man.

3/19/10   |   Chief_aka_James   |   3307 respect

Boski93 wrote:
Excellent article Jess. The M's have emerged from the flaming wreckage that was the Bavasi Era or Error depending on how you look at it. Maybe the Zduriencik can pull off the same magic Bill Stoneman did with the Angels, who in three seasons after taking over for another grease fire started by Bavasi, got the Halo's a ring.  Now they have set a foundation, with a defense that greatly helped a young pitching staff. The M's did a fantastic job of gobbling up potential hits and limiting the damage of the one that did land. Now it comes down to finding the right blend of offense to the team without disrupting the defensive harmony that is set. That is why I like the Figgins pick up, I still miffed the White Sox never pulled the trigger to get him. The other offensive players they are bringing do not register a lot of excitement , and I am not going to even touch Milton Bradley, but then he is crazy enough to have a great season and get along with everyone. As for the hurlers, they did not sell the farm to get Lee. Lee and Felix is a nice duo, it comes down to the kids and the tender wing Bedard. As for the pen, the M's have been able to harness the arm of Aardasma and make his the closer, but they managed him carefully. It will be interesting to see if they continue to only bring him in situations with no runners on.

The M's have come a long way in a short period of time, I think they will be the ones to give the Angels a run for their money, even more so than the Rangers. I see at least 86 -89 wins, finishing no lower than 2nd.
(Edited by Chief_aka_James)

Haha. Eric got called "Jess". *points and laughs*

(will read the rest of what you said, Boski, once I stop pointing and laughing.)

3/19/10   |   Boski93   |   375 respect

Excellent article Jess. The M's have emerged from the flaming wreckage that was the Bavasi Era or Error depending on how you look at it. Maybe the Zduriencik can pull off the same magic Bill Stoneman did with the Angels, who in three seasons after taking over for another grease fire started by Bavasi, got the Halo's a ring.  Now they have set a foundation, with a defense that greatly helped a young pitching staff. The M's did a fantastic job of gobbling up potential hits and limiting the damage of the one that did land. Now it comes down to finding the right blend of offense to the team without disrupting the defensive harmony that is set. That is why I like the Figgins pick up, I still miffed the White Sox never pulled the trigger to get him. The other offensive players they are bringing do not register a lot of excitement , and I am not going to even touch Milton Bradley, but then he is crazy enough to have a great season and get along with everyone. As for the hurlers, they did not sell the farm to get Lee. Lee and Felix is a nice duo, it comes down to the kids and the tender wing Bedard. As for the pen, the M's have been able to harness the arm of Aardasma and make his the closer, but they managed him carefully. It will be interesting to see if they continue to only bring him in situations with no runners on.

The M's have come a long way in a short period of time, I think they will be the ones to give the Angels a run for their money, even more so than the Rangers. I see at least 86 -89 wins, finishing no lower than 2nd.

3/18/10   |   Dream_Machine   |   13228 respect

GMZ For Executive Of The Year
Wakamatsu For Coach Of The Year.

Nuff Said!

3/18/10   |   WhoDat12   |   2252 respect

I think the M's will take the division title. I like all the moves they made in the offseason, except bringing in Milton Bradley. He is a gigantic douche. But I think they have enough solid guys to counteract or maybe even prevent Bradley's douchebaggery.

3/17/10   |   Chief_aka_James   |   3307 respect

btw, Don Wakamatsu - who should've been Manager of the Year last year - is my top pick this year. I hardly watch enough of the team, but when I did watch him manage/teach/overlook his ballclub, I couldn't help but buy into whatever he does too.

3/17/10   |   ary201   |   213 respect

I really like how the offseason went for the M's but you really did hit the nail on the head with the possible shortcomings of the roster. They were able to do some remarkable things last year after less than a year under Zdurencik.

All in all, I think they made the most of the hot stove and did what they could, but there's a good chance the team doesn't make the leap forward some may think they will. They got lucky last year and played well over their heads the first part of the season.

Here's what I'm worried about:

- Aardsma came out of nowhere to become one of the best closers in the AL. Can he do it again?
- They patched together a TON of innings with basically nobodies in the back of their rotation. They have more quality at the top of the rotation now, but basically the same at the back. Can anyone step up and be a solid #3?
- They won a bunch of low-scoring games last year due to some heroics from unlikely players. Guti is a good hitter, but he showed uncanny power last season out of nowhere. Branyan also hit over 30 HRs without even a full season. They're going to need those HRs again, plus whatever Ichiro and Figgins will give you and I'm not sure if Bradley, Kotchman, Lopez and Guti can provide that.

I know what you mean about Cliff Lee as well. Going back to the AL and all the hype. However, when he's on, I don't think it matters who's batting. Look at what he did against the Yanks in the WS. So if he catches fire, this will be a tough, tough team.

3/17/10   |   Chief_aka_James   |   3307 respect

woody050681 wrote:
Hehe Doug Fister

I think the Mariners win the division by default. Everyone else in the division has way more question marks than the Mariners.

Damnit, you made me laugh at Fister too.

And the Mariners made a lot of moves this offseason, I think most of them will work out the way they want (Figgins a tremendous #2 hitter along with solid defense from 2nd or 3rd, and a possible resurgence for Milton Bradley), although I'm still not confident in the starting rotation after Felix. I have a feeling Cliff Lee will be a disappointment with his move back to the AL, and Rowland-Smith/Fister/Snell/Bedard just doesn't seem will be consistent enough to win 90 games.

Maybe 90 wins aren't needed in the AL West this year though, and depending on if (when) Texas falls off again, it will just be between the Angels and M's.

3/17/10   |   woody050681   |   13688 respect

woody050681 wrote:
Hehe Doug Fister

I think the Mariners win the division by default. Everyone else in the division has way more question marks than the Mariners.
(Edited by woody050681)

Hehe Doug Fister

I think the Mariners win the division by default. Everyone else in the division has way more question marks than the Mariners.