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2018 AL West division preview: The Mariners lick their wounds

Jerry Dipoto and co. return from the Northwest like waves that barely lap at your bare feet.

MLB: Spring Training-Milwaukee Brewers at Seattle Mariners
He’s back!
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Mariners


The Mariners, way up there in Seattle, are run by Jerry Dipoto and managed by Jerry Dipoto. Well, the name above the manager’s office is Dipoto-puppet Scott Servais, but we all know Dipoto calls the shots. When, you ask? Oh, just every single time Servais makes a pitching change, I swear he has an earpiece in that hears every word from Dipoto.

Were they even good last year?

We can go with...average. The Mariners finished 78-84 in 2017, tied for third in the AL West. They were similar to the Angels last year in that they have very good pieces at the top (Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, James Paxton) and severe dropoffs after that. In 2017, the Mariners went through starting pitchers like a racecar uses tires. They had many injuries, and their below-replacement bottom of their 25-man roster couldn’t keep them in the dogfight.

What’d they do this offseason?

More like what didn’t they do, amirite? **winks** Obviously, the big story of the offseason was that the Mariners were a finalist for the services of Shohei Ohtani. Dipoto probably thought he had this in the bag, traveling all the way to Japan last season, trading away prospects for international bonus money, trading away more prospects for international bonus money...

So yeah, they didn’t get Ohtani. But we know Dipoto, and that doesn’t mean he didn’t make moves, because that man loves trading like Linus loves his blanket. First, he moved for A’s third baseman Ryon Healy and commissioned him to play first base. Then, he signed Juan Nicasio, a former starter who has found a niche as a reliever. To top it off, he traded for Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon and didn’t tell him he would be playing center field! Finally, they brought back star-turned-backup Ichiro Suzuki and stuck him in left field. Never forget the legend that is Jerry Dipoto.

Projected Lineup:

Dee Gordon CF

Jean Segura SS

Robinson Cano 2B

Nelson Cruz DH

Kyle Seager 3B

Ryon Healy 1B

Mitch Haniger RF

Mike Zunino C

Ichiro LF

Projected Rotation:

Felix Hernandez RHP

James Paxton LHP

Mike Leake RHP

Marco Gonzales LHP

Ariel Miranda LHP

Projected Closer:

Edwin Diaz RHP

What is their strength?

The long ball. Two mashers in the middle, Cano and Cruz, surrounded by some other surprising power sources. You’ve got Healy and Segura and even Mike Zunino hit 25 HRs in 2017. Mike Zunino. Yup, the ball is juiced.

What is their weakness?

Yeah, their bullpen simply isn’t that good.

So, what can we expect?

We can expect a fight. This team is gunning for the playoffs, and even if they probably aren’t going to get there, you never know what to expect from such an opponent. They’ll probably finish third, a couple games above .500, right behind the Angels and the Astros. But if the sneak into the postseason, no one should be surprised.

What’s the most accurate representation of this team, in GIF form?

Yeah, we love to laugh at the Mariners, but they’ll be no pushover. And they’re always up north, watching our every move, sneakily.