No one was happier that the Houston Astros joined the AL West than the Seattle Mariners.
Now they won’t be the worst team in the division on an annual basis.
They really should change their name to the Seattle Felix’s, because that’s really all that they have. Until now.
The Mariners went out and got a handful of project players that could come in and make an impact.
Seattle already had a young team, so they added veterans Kendrys Morales, Jason Bay, Raul Ibanez, and Michael Morse.
Morse is really the only player that was worth acquiring at this point.
Bay is washed up, Ibanez had some spot heroics for the Yanks last season, and Morales is limited by being a DH.
So how are the Mariners better than the Astros? King Felix.
The pitching staff isn’t that strong beyond that. Even when they had Michael Pineda, they were a sub-par unit.
They did clean it up by shipping out Jason Vargas to the Angels, but they also traded catcher Jason Jaso to the A’s in the Morse trade.
Seattle did acquire Jesus Montero from the Yankees in the previous off-season, but he didn’t exactly live up to the hype in his first full major league season.
The Mariners are always the ones trading away players. The fact that they are actually trading FOR players, makes you wonder if they’re actually trying to win.
Felix Hernandez isn’t getting any younger, or patient, which is why he was given the biggest contract for a pitcher in MLB history.
That’s not to say that there aren’t any Mariner players that are worth considering in the draft, but just don’t expect them to make a playoff push as a collective unit.
Let’s take a look at the revised Mariners…
MARINERS PROJECTED LINEUP
1. Dustin Ackley 2B His value suffered one of the biggest drop-offs going into 2013, after hitting just .226 in his first full season. He is a former 1st round pick that hasn’t materialized yet, but could be a buy-low option this season.
2. Franklin Gutierrez CF He has only had one good season in his entire nine year career, so don’t think that this is going to be a breakout year.
3. Kyle Seager 3B He didn’t have the best of batting averages, but he did hit 20 homers last season. It was his first full season in the league, he hit .333 towards the end of the season, and could improve this season.
4. Michael Morse LF Despite being overshadowed by Bryce Harper and Adam LaRoche in WSH, Morse was a .291 hitter and dropped 18 bombs. Now that he has full playing time again, it could prove to be what he needs to bounce back.
5. Kendrys Morales DH Another player that just needed more playing time, but unfortunately Morales’ value is hindered by just being a DH. Otherwise, he has everything that you would want in a power hitter.
6.Jesus Montero C Once again, talking about playing time. Montero was the Mariners’ DH last year, but now he’ll assume complete playing time behind the plate. He should be one of the top 10 catchers drafted.
7.Justin Smoak 1B Despite his .217 batting AVG, he hit .341 in his final 27 games. He’s added 10 pounds of muscle, he’s worked on is spring, and he’s ready to prove why there was so much hype surrounding him when he was first called up.
8.Michael Saunders RF Despite his dismal .247 batting average, Saunders had a decent season, finishing with double digits in every category, just don’t think that you actually have to draft him to get him
9.Brendan Ryan SS He hit .194 in 2012…enough said
1. Felix Hernandez There’s some skepticism about the health of his throwing elbow, but he might be the best pitcher in baseball on the worst team otherwise. He should be gone by the first two rounds.
2. Hisashi Iwakuma He quietly went 9-5 with a 3.16 ERA in 2012, not a big strikeout pitcher, but he’ll get you wins
3. Erasmo Ramirez He went 1-3 in 8 starts last season, could be a sleeper going into this season, but will be a post-draft watchlist candidate
4. Blake Beavan He had a .500 season, but over a 4.4 ERA, don’t bother drafting him
5.Hector Noesi 2-12 with a 5.82 ERA…keep looking
RP-Tom Wilhelmsen Had 29 saves in the midst of the Brandon League trade, so could emerge as a sleeper option with a full season opportunity
Michael Morse could be this year’s Josh Reddick. I mean that in a way of just a great player that just needs consistent playing time. The fact that Morse was able to hit .291 and 19 homers, despite losing playing time to Adam LaRoche and Bryce Harper, should tell you all that you need to know. He’s going to hit cleanup in the offense and he has two big bats in Jesus Montero and Kendrys Morales right behind him. Morse should be valued as the highest Mariner that should be drafted in your league, unless catchers start flying off the shelves. Believe in the upside.
Erasmos Ramirez only had eight starts in 2012, producing a lackluster 1-3 record. Not a lot to impress you, is there? He was a rookie people, it happens. Ramirez is slated to pitch third the rotation, because he was able to demonstrate a high upside of potential towards the end of last season. He has great balance with his pitching arsenal, he is durable enough to make it through at least six innings, he can get you six strikeouts per outing, and Seattle’s offense should be a little more reliable this season. You won’t have to draft Ramirez to get him, so make sure he’s on your post-draft watchlist.