The season is getting closer and closer, so it's high time we delve into our bitter AL West rivals' chances at success in 2016. We'll take a look at what's new, what to expect and if we need to be worried or not. Today we're looking at the Seattle Mariners.
You know, Seattle. They play wayyyyy up the northern coast in the stadium with the cool, retractable roof. Honestly, Safeco Field is a gorgeous ballpark. You should go check it out some time, preferably when they're playing the Angels.
Were they even good last year?
No, they weren't. They finished fourth in the AL West with a record of 76-86. They did have to contend with some lackluster play from a lot of their long standing Seattle players, and Robinson Cano has yet to ingratiate himself with the fanbase via All Star caliber season. They still had some good pieces, and they had King Felix, who is fun to watch(or scary to watch, against the Angels). There just wasn't a whole lot they could do with the talent they had, it happens.
What'd they do this off-season?
They shipped away a lot of their 2015 guys and tried to bring in some fresh meat to liven up the joint. No more Brad Miller, Logan Morrison, Mark Trumbo, James Jones, Danny Farquhar, etc...and in return they got a couple interesting arms in the form of Nathan Karns and C.J. Reifenhauser. They picked up OF Leonys Martin, too, who has an unreal canon for an arm and could do big things in 2016, spurred on by a nice change of professional scenery. Oh, and they now have Adam Lind in the middle of their lineup, but more importantly, he significantly ups their overall Q Rating due to his penchant for nude selfies and being on MTV Reality shows.
The biggest thing they did, though, was ink ousted Angels GM Jerry Dipoto to a deal to be their new GM, and with Dipoto came a new front office(with some of the same "brain trust" he had in Anaheim) as well as a new manager, Scott Servais(who we're also familiar with in Anaheim). I'm still not sold on Dipoto's acumen when it comes to baseball moves. He likes to move around a lot of middling pieces in hopes that they can mutate into win-making machines, but we've seen firsthand how he can screw that up while focusing on subpar pitching. I'm also intrigued at Servais as manager, seeing as how he's never been a manager before at the minor league or MLB level, and comes from a scouting/player development level. I give Jerry Dipoto credit for effort, though; the Winter Meetings was dominated by the slew of moves by the M's, often coming announced one after the other on Twitter; an avalanche of mediocrity is still an avalanche.
What is their strength?
On paper, they could have some power in their lineup, but we all know how "on paper" tends to go when things get down to the nitty gritty. Still, Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager aren't too shabby and can pose a threat to opposing pitching when the mood is right. Add Adam Lind to that mix and you make them even more interesting. They'll need those guys to lift them above the AL West fray.
What is their weakness?
Well, beyond ace Felix Hernandez, their Dipoto-fueled rotation is about as iffy as they come. On top of that, they shipped away their most used bullpen arms from 2015, so it's tough to gauge what to expect out of that bunch, too. They seem to be setting themselves up to have a propensity for a lot of high scoring games in which their starter and/or their relief pitching gets shelled and there's nothing they'll be able to do about it other than pray for meat-of-the-order lightning rods, or pray for rain(and a broken retractable roof).
So, what can we expect?
I think they'll probably have a year almost identical to last year. If Dipoto is out for revenge, well...it ain't going to be this year that he gets it. Between the pitching(both starting and relief) problems, and the fact that they have as green a manager as you could think up in the MLB(barring a Little Big League-type situation where a 13 year old takes the helm), there is a lot of room for error and a small sliver of hope for success. They'll finish fourth or fifth place, battling Oakland for the Horrible AL West Team title, second year running.
What's the most accurate representation of the team in gif form?