NBCsports.com recently published their Mariners preseason preview and there’s no major surprises in here. The offense should be good enough but the starting rotation is pretty shoddy. I expect Felix Hernandez to bounce back especially considering he’s shown up in better shape, but after that, it’s hit or miss.
The final prognosis is that the Mariners won’t be there come playoff time, but who knows because nobody predicted the Tigers would be there in 2006. I think the key is to get off to a good start and not put this team into a hole. A team like the Yankees can survive that but I don’t think a team like the Mariners, who haven’t been in the playoffs in a while, could come back from a rough start.
According to ESPN.com’s rumor page, it appears that there’s speculation that Ichiro could hit the trade market sometime in 2007. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise because a) the Mariners probably won’t win the AL West and b) Ichiro is in the last year of his contract. If the Mariners find themselves out of the playoff hunt in July, they’d be doing a disservice if they didn’t at least look at their options for the lead off hitter. If the Mariners could get a couple of top notch prospects, it might be worth going without the superstar.
Arthur Rhodes is coming home. The 37 year old left hander had his best years in a Mariner uniform and in 2001 and 2002, Rhodes was about as good as you can get with WHIPs of 0.85 and 0.83 respectively. Since leaving the Mariners, he’s had a pretty tough road though. He still strikes guys out but three of his past four seasons have been pretty pedestrians. Only his 2005 season with the Indians stands out.
This is a guy who has held left handed hitters to a .224 batting average through out his career though and his strikeout rate against righties is just as good against lefties so he can get an out when he needs one. This was a nice pickup especially considering it’s a minor league deal and there’s money on the line unless Rhodes makes the big league team.
The Mariners are also close to adding another starter and they’re getting the guy who’s probably the best of the crop that’s left out there. Apparantly, despite several other teams being interested, the Mariners are close to a deal for the right hander. Weaver had a pretty rough 2006 but then made a name for himself, a la Derek Lowe, in the post season. Weaver did pitch pretty well for the Dodgers in 2004 and 2005 though and with Safeco being a pitchers park, maybe it will suit Weaver better.
This isn’t optimistic. While Bill Bavasi was trying to convey confidence, I didn’t like how this all sounds. He did say that getting Ichiro locked up was a top priority but he seemed to feel that doing it later was just as good as doing it now. There’s no doubt that a lot hinges on a happy Ichiro so it’d be nice if we just gave the superstar what he wanted. If we don’t, someone else will.
This is some good news. Hernandez had a mixed bag of a season last year. His strikeout rate was right where it should be but especially in the first half, things didn’t seem to click. It was particularly annoying to Mariners’ fans because the prospect showed up to camp overweight.
Now, Felix Hernandez has appeared to have changed his ways. He’s 20 pounds lighter then he was last year and he’s done it through an improved diet and exercise. Wonder if PECOTA has that factored in to Hernandez’s already fantastic projections?
This is just one of the many questions that Mariner’s beat writer Corey Brock answers in his mailbag column. In addition, he touches on a question on why the Mariners shouldn’t put J.J. Putz into the rotation as well as whether Willie Bloomquist has a spot on the team. Good stuff here.
Hello, my name is Jake Winters and I’ll be writing about the Seattle Mariners for the Baseball Historians network of baseball sites. I grew up in Oregon of all places and ever since I remember, I’ve been keeping tabs on the Mariners. I was too young to remember the teams start in 1977 but I remember watching guys like Al Cowens and Jim Beattie play.
In addition to covering the present day Mariners, I’ll also be looking at the teams 30 year history. We’ll go way back to that first Mariners team and examine the good and the (mostly) bad. Then we’ll see how things began to turn around when Lou Pinella came to town. We’ll also take a look at some great players that played for Seattle.
So I hope you stop by now and then. I’m happy to be joining the blogging community because I’ve been a huge fan of both U.S.S. Mariner and Lookout Landing for a while. And hopefully the Mariners can make some progress toward winning that division again.
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