Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Seattle Mariners 2017 season preview
Key additions: SS Jean Segura, OFs Jarrod Dyson, Mitch Haniger, 3B Danny Valencia, SPs Drew Smyly, Yovani Gallardo, Chris Heston, RPs Mark Rzepczynski, Casey Fien, James Pazos, Shae Simmons, Cs Carlos Ruiz, Tuffy Gosewisch.
Key subtractions: SPs Taijuan Walker, Nathan Karns, SS Ketel Marte, OFs Norichika Aoki, Seth Smith, Franklin Gutierrez, 1B Adam Lind, C Chris Iannetta, RPs Drew Storen, Vidal Nuno, Tom Wilhelmsen.
Biggest move: The Mariners and the Arizona Diamondbacks pulled off a blockbuster. It sent outfielder Mitch Haniger and SS Jean Segura to Seattle, and SP Taijuan Walker and SS Ketel Marte to Arizona. With 20 HRs and 33 SBs last season (HRs a career high), Segura is a really good player. He was last year's NL hits leader with 203.
X-factor: When it comes to the best base stealers, Jarrod Dyson is a top 5 guy who comes to mind. Last year, he had a career high in ABs with 299, and still stole 30 bases. After being the Royals 4th outfielder for his entire career, Dyson will get a starting role in Seattle. I'd be surprised if he didn't put up 40 steals.
Biggest breakout: Many expected 2016 to be the year SP James Paxton broke out. He had a solid year, with a 3.79 ERA in 121 innings. Maybe 2017 is the year we were looking for out of Paxton last year.
Biggest bounce back: Felix Hernandez will be a hall of famer eventually. But in 2016, he might of had his worst season yet. He had a 3.82 ERA (highest since 2007) in just 153.1 innings (his first non 200 innings season since 2007, and lowest amount of innings since his rookie season of 2005). If the Mariners want to make the playoffs in 2017, they need "King Felix" to bounce back in 2017.
Guaranteed star: In 9 years with the Yankees from 2005 to 2013, 2B Robinson Cano hit 25 or more HRs 5 times, 100 or more RBIs 3 times and an average over .300 7 times. After signing a huge 10 year, $240 million deal with the M's in before the 2014 season, Cano hit a total of 35 HRs in two years. But in 2016, Cano set a career high in HRs with 39, and hit over 100 RBIs (103) for the first time in Seattle.
The Mariners lineup should look like this.
1. CF: Leonys Martin
2. SS: Jean Segura
3. 2B: Robinson Cano
4. DH: Nelson Cruz
5. 3B: Kyle Seager
6. RF: Mitch Haniger
7. 1B: Danny Valencia
8. LF: Jarrod Dyson
9. C: Mike Zunino
Their rotation will probably be this.
1. Felix Hernandez
2. Hisashi Iwakuma
3. James Paxton
4. Drew Smyly
5. Yovani Gallardo
C Carlos Ruiz, OF Guillermo Heredia and SS Shawn O'Malley will be on the bench.
Edwin Diaz will be their closer, with Steve Cishek (currently injured) and Nick Vincent setting him up.
Finally, for my prediction, I think the Seattle Mariners will tie with the Houston Astros for second in the AL West, but miss the playoffs in 2017.