Seattle Mariners – Entering their 40th season
2016 Record – 86-76 – 2nd in the AL West
Last Playoff Appearance – 2001
World Series Appearances / Wins – 0 / 0
Best Franchise Season – 2001 – 116-46
Worst Franchise Season – 1978 – 56-104
Manager – Former Astros’ Catcher Scott Servais. 2nd season
2016 Payroll (from spotrac) – $155 million (13th in majors)
2017 Payroll (projected by spotrac) – $146 million (13th)
2016 Offense – 768 Runs (3rd in AL), 223 HRs (2nd), 56 SB (12th), .259 BA (7th), .756 OPS (5th)
2016 Starting Pitching – 4.25 ERA (4th), 1.32 WHIP (8th), 281 BBs (4th best), 768 Ks (10th), .264 BA against (7th best), .765 OPS against (9th)
2016 Bullpen – 3.55 ERA (4th), 1.22 WHIP (3rd), 49 Svs (3rd), 21 Blown Saves (5th most), .233 BA against (3rd) .692 OPS against (5th)
For a team that statistically was very solid in 2016, the Mariners under Jerry Dipoto made a lot of off-season moves in replacing their starting 1B, LF, RF, SS, one of their Cs and two SPs. Whether this propels them into the playoffs they fell short of in 2016 or starts them on a slide, like Dipoto oversaw in Anaheim will be answered in the coming season.
Infield – 2B Robinson Cano (.298 BA/.882 OPS, 39 HR, 103 RBIs) and 3B Kyle Seager (.278 BA/.859 OPS, 30 HR, 99 RBIs) made up a very powerful twosome in 2016. Through a trade that sent young light hitting SS Ketel Marte and promising SP Taijuan Walker to the D’Backs, the M’s have added another good bat at SS in Jean Segura (.319 BA / .867 OPS, 20 HR, 64 RBIs). They also replaced FA 1B Adam Lind with a similar player in Danny Valencia in a trade with the A’s.
Outfield – The M’s had fairly weak OF production in 2016 out of new Astro, Nori Aoki, Seth Smith, and Leonys Martin. They held onto Martin and brought in Mitch Haniger in the Segura trade with the D’Backs and Jarrod Dyson from the Royals. Dyson gives them a bit more base stealing ability (30 SBs in 2016) with a similar light bat to Aoki. Haniger had a great year at AAA (25 HR, 94 RBIs in 129 games) and then struggled a bit in the majors in a small stint with Arizona. Guillermo Heredia is the likely 4th OF in the rotation.
DH and C – In the post Big Papi world, the M’s have one of the premier DHs around in Nelson Cruz (.287 BA, .915 OPS, 43 HR, 105 RBIs). They have brought in former all-star C Carlos Ruiz to help young Mike Zunino develop behind and at the plate.
Starting Rotation – The M’s have taken a chance here as they traded away Walker and Nate Karns after trading Wade Miley at mid-season in 2016. They have brought in (by trades) Yovani Gallardo (6-8, 5.42 ERA) and Drew Smyly (7-12, 4.88 ERA), both of whom are coming off tough 2016’s. These two will be competing against Ariel Miranda (5-2, 3.54 ERA) for the BOR spots in the rotation. The top of the rotation includes King Felix Hernandez (11-8, 3.82 ERA), Hisashi Iwakuma (16-12, 4.12 ERA) and James Paxton (6-7, 3.79 ERA).
The ‘Pen – The bullpen looks pretty solid with young closer Edwin Diaz (18 saves, 2.79 ERA) backed up by old closer Steve Cishek (25 saves, 2.81 ERA). The M’s have brought in Scrabble buster Marc Rzepczynski to pair with Nick Vincent in set-up roles.
Prognosis – The completed trades would seemed to have made a good offense even better for the Mariners. The starting rotation could be a risky business especially with potential health and performance problems with Gallardo and Smyly. The bullpen has good depth and a solid back-end. M’s – 89-73