Seattle Mariners Predictions
The Seattle Mariners head into their fifth season under general manager Jack Zduriencik. They have improved each of the last three years, but that’s not saying much as they won just 75 games in 2012. After being outbid on Josh Hamilton by $25 million, which sent the prices on Torii Hunter, Kevin Youkilis and Mike Napoli skyrocketing, the Mariners haven’t been able to snag any big names this offseason. They did get Felix Hernandez signed to a new seven-year, $175 million deal to make him the face of the franchise for years to come.
Seattle went out and signed cheaper free agents like Jason Bay and Raul Ibanez to one-year deals. It also traded Jason Vargas to the Angels for first baseman Kendrys Morales, and brought back Michael Morse to the place where he started his career. The offense should get a boost from the new, shortened walls at Safeco Field. The Mariners scored just 3.2 runs per game at home compared to 4.5 on the road. However, the pitching staff allowed 3.2 runs at home compared to 4.8 on the road. So, whatever boost they gain in hitting they may still give up in pitching. Vargas and Kevin Millwood combined for 378.1 innings last season, but neither is back in 2013.
Dustin Ackley (2B) – Hit just .226 in his first full season after a solid second half in 2011. However, Ackley played much of his 2012 campaign with bone spurs in his ankle.
Franklin Gutierrez (CF) – Limited to just 163 plate appearances in 2011 after being held to 344 in ’11 due to a stomach condition. Gutierrez is talented, but he just cannot stay on the field.
Kyle Seager (3B) – Was the team’s most productive hitter last year. Seager hit .259 with 20 homers and 86 RBIs in his first full season.
Kendrys Morales (1B) – Posted an OPS of .900 in August and .829 in September and October combined in his comeback season with the Angels last year. Seattle hopes those are signs that he’s back to full strength in 2013.
Michael Morse (LF) – Hit .303 with 31 home runs for Washington in 2011. Injuries limited Morse to just 102 games last season, but he still managed to hit .291 with 18 homers and 62 RBIs.
Jesus Montero (C) – Hit .260 with 15 homers and 62 RBIs in his first full season in Seattle. This is a young talent that should only get better in 2013.
Raul Ibanez (DH) – Will get plenty of at-bats in either LF, 1B or DH. Ibanez had a OPS of .811 versus righthanders in 2012 and was arguably the most clutch hitter in all of baseball for the Yankees.
Michael Saunders (RF) – Hit 19 homers with a .432 slugging percentage last year to provide more consistent power than any other Seattle regular in 2012.
Brendan Ryan (SS) – Arguably the game’s top defender at short, Ryan was a Gold Glove finalist last year. However, his .194 average in 470 plate appearances was a problem.
Felix Hernandez (RHP) – The 2010 AL Cy Young winner added a perfect game in August to his long list of accomplishments. Hernandez went 0-4 with a 6.62 ERA from September 1st on, but he’s now the face of the franchise after signing a new seven year, $175 million deal.
Hisashi Iwakuma (RHP) – Came out of the bullpen in the first half of 2012 and posted a 4.84 ERA in 15 outings. Iwakuma went 8-4 with a 2.50 ERA over 15 second-half starts.
Joe Saunders (LHP) – Went 9-13 with a 4.07 ERA over 28 starts between Baltimore and Arizona last year. The veteran left-hander is an innings-eater that can still get it done at age 31.
Erasmo Ramirez (RHP) – Missed two months last season due to an elbow injury. However, Ramirez recovered in time to post a 2.86 ERA over four starts and one relief appearance in September.
Blake Beavan (RHP) – The former first-round pick logged 152.1 innings while making 26 starts in his first full season in 2012. Beavan finished 11-11 with a 4.43 ERA with only 67 strikeouts.
Tom Wilhelmsen (RHP) – Converted 29-of-34 save opportunities after taking over the closer role from Brandon League in May. Finished 4-3 with a 2.50 ERA with 87 strikeouts in 79.1 innings. Setting up Wilhelmsen will be Carter Capps (100 MPH heat) and Stephen Pryor (3-1, 3.91 ERA in 2012).
4th Place AL West & UNDER 76.5 Wins – There’s no question that the Mariners have finally upgraded their lineup with the additions of Morse, Morales and Ibanez. They will score more runs this season, especially inside Safeco Field where the walls have been moved in. There is some promise in this rotation, but the losses of Vargas and Millwood will hurt. Iwakuma and Ramirez both showed promise in limited action last year, but can they consistently dominate over a full season? The bullpen is also filled with unproven performers trying to close out games in Seattle. The one constant is Felix Hernandez, but unfortunately he only gets the ball every 5th day. Look for Seattle to only beat out Houston in the AL West and finish well behind the top three while winning 75 games or fewer.
|2013 Seattle Mariners Odds|
|Total Regular Season Wins||O76.5 (-115)|