It has taken a little while to finish off the Astros’ division rivals, but today we look at the Seattle Mariners heading into 2018.
- 78-84Â Record (79-83 Pythagorean) â T 3rd Place in the AL West; 23 GB of Astros;Â 7 GB of Twins for 2nd Wild Card
- Offense â .259 BA (6th in AL) / .325 OBP (6th) / .749 OPS (7th) / 750 Runs (7th) / 200 HRs (10th) /Â 89 SBs (8th)
- Starting Pitching â 4.70 ERA (9th)Â / 1.32 WHIP (6th) / .261 BA against (8th)Â / .779 OPSA (10th) / 159 HR (3rd most) /Â 279 BB (12th most) /Â 697 K (11th)
- Relief Pitching âÂ 4.08 ERA (7th) / 1.29 WHIP (8th) / 60% save % (12th) / .244 BAA (9th) / .713 OPSA (6th) /Â 79 HR (6th most) /Â 211 BB (9th most) /Â 547Â K (7th)
Summary of 2017
The Mariners had an average offense and bullpen and a below average starting rotation, which resulted in a team that was a little bit below average for the season. They made a lot of changes in the off-season and hope this will get them over the hump and back in the playoff hunt.
2018 M’s Offense
TheÂ Mâs had a decent middle of the road offense in 2017 and scored the 7th most runs in the AL. They had some good offensive weapons such as DH Nelson Cruz, 2B Robinson Cano and SS Jean Segura, butÂ made some moves to try and giveÂ them a bit more spark.
- The M’s thought outside the box and went out and got middle infielder Dee Gordon whose speed resulted in 114 Runs scored and 60 SBs in 2017. The outside the box part was they did not need a middle infielder, but they did need a CF and they have moved him there and stuck him in the leadoff spot.
- They also went out and got 1B Ryon Healy from the A’s, who put up 25 HR and 84 RBIs in 149 games last season, but had to give up young stud reliever Emilio Pagan to get him. Now they just need to get Healy off the DL.
- They are hoping that Mitch Haniger can stretch out his .282 BA/ .352 OBP/.843 OPS slash over more than 96 games this season.
- They brought back fast aging Ichiro Suzuki who is an M’s icon, but may only holding a spot until Ben Gamel returns from the DL.
The M’s discussed using a 6 man rotation at some point in 2018 and then have started the season only using 4 starters so far due to only playing 12 games.
- James Paxton who is well known to the Astros as an Astro killerÂ is the ace of this staff with his 12-5 record and 2.98 ERA/1.103 WHIP leading the way in 2017.
- Felix Hernandez only started 16 games in 2017 and continued his steady decline with a 6-5 recored, 4.39 ERA and 1.292 WHIP. Not bad, but no longer an ace.
- Mike Leake came over from the Cards last year and had 5 good starts for the M’s. They are hoping he repeats that 2.53 ERA for them as a 3rd starter.
- Marco Gonzales has been picking up the other starts for the M’s after a not so impressive 2017 between St. Louis and Seattle.
- When the M’s do need more starters they will likely pick between Erasmo Ramirez, Andrew Moore and Ariel Miranda, but starting pitching looks like an overall weakness for the M’s.
The M’s had a middle of the road bullpen in 2017. They again made various moves to boost that part of their team.
- They brought in free agent Juan Nicasio from the Cards, who was excellent in 2017 with a 2.61 ERA in 76 games.
- They brought back free agent Wade LeBlanc, who struggled with the Pirates in 2017.
- They picked up off waivers Chasen Bradford who had decent numbers with the Mets in 2017.
- They are hoping that Edwin Diaz their closer improves on one critical number as the M’s only saved 60% of their opportunities in 2017.
- They are also hoping that trading young Emilio Pagan for Healy does not come back to bite them as he showed good stuff in 2017.
Predictions for the 2018 Mariners
The M’s will go as far as their rotation takes them and that is a big question mark. Yes, they have had a good start to their 2018 season, but some of it seems a little smoke and mirrors. Their offense should be a bit better. Their bullpen should be a bit better, but they need a lot out of the rotation to have a real playoff run.
2018 Prediction: 81-81 and 4th place in the AL West