The Seattle Mariners will be looking to finally break their 15-season streak without a post season berth, the longest current playoff drought in baseball. The good news, is that their core group of veterans from last year’s 86-76 team are returning, which certainly helps the chances of Seattle still playing come October. The Mariners’ front office spent this offseason orchestrating over a dozen trades to elevate the roster around their star trio of Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager.
General Manager Jerry Dipoto made a solid effort to improve the Mariners pitching rotation as part of their overhaul. Felix Hernandez is still their starter, but needs a much better outing in 2017 if they are going to contend, followed by Hisashi Iwakuma, a great game commander. Lefty James Paxton is the only other holdover from last year’s pitchers, as both Taijuan Walker and Nathan Karns were traded, to make room for starters Drew Smyly and Yovani Gallardo. 27 year-old Smyly is a left handed pitcher acquired from the Rays, and should elevate their rotation if he can manage to stay healthy, while Gallardo arrived in Seattle via a trade for outfielder Seth Smith with the Orioles. Chris Heston, Rob Whalen and Ariel Miranda are tapped to provide injury depth to the Mariners’ rotation. When it comes to the bullpen, Edwin Diaz outplayed and snagged closing duties from Steve Cishek last June, but faded towards the end of the season. Cishek is now expected to be the late-inning set-up guy for Diaz in 2017. Seattle inked a deal with veteran Marc Rzepczynski this offseason to fill the void of late-inning lefties, with Dan Altavilla and Shae Simmons projected as middle relievers. At second base, Cano will finally have a stout middle infield partner, as Seattle acquired shortstop Jean Segura from the Diamondbacks, after a career year, earning 41 doubles, 20 homers, 64 RBIs and 33 steals in 153 games last season. Cano also had a solid 2016 effort, making this duo tough to beat both at the plate and with their gloves. Seager is a staple at third
base, but across the diamond, first is still a revolving door. Look for a potential platoon situation with rookie Daniel Vogelbach and veteran Danny Valencia. Former Kansas City Royal Jarrod Dyson will man left field with Leonys Martin covering center, while right field could be a battle between rookies Mitch Haniger and Ben Gamel.
Seattle fans are some of the best around, and deserve to see their team in a pennant race. This could be certainly be the year, so be sure to lock down your Seattle Mariners tickets and head out to the ballpark this season for some thrilling on-field action.
The Seattle Mariners have been playing professional baseball since 1977. This makes the franchise one of the youngest in the MLB, which is why fans are not too upset that the club has yet to win or play in a World Series. The M’s time will come and the very deserving sports fans of Seattle will make the most of the opportunity to cheer their team on in the biggest series of the season.
The early rosters managed to obtain Hall of Fame players at the end of their careers or simply did not have enough great players to put together a winning season or survive the difficult road in the playoffs. Eventually the baseball team would put together the kind of talent that made them preseason picks to win the American League West and take the AL Pennant, but somehow the efforts of Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, Edgar Martinez, and Jay Buhner were not enough to make those predictions come true.
These guys did win the division twice in the second half of the 1990s though. But, the Mariners always seemed to lack the depth in the starting rotation to make a real run at a championship. Still the fans were treated to some of most talented players in the league.
Those players retired or left in free agency by the beginning of the 21st century, but the remnants rallied around the super-single hitting Ichiro Suzuki to post an American League record 116 wins and advance to the ALCS in 2001. Alas, the unlikely club could not keep the fairy tale story going and lost to the Yankees. This is as close to the Promised Land as the Mariners have come, even though in the immediate years after they managed to win 93 games. Since then the team has been searching for the next generation of stars.