Is this finally the year we see the Seattle Mariners live up to the hype? This is a team that’s been picked as a good sleeper team the last few years yet they’ve consistently been, well, mediocre.
The Mariners have a good core of offensive players and have Felix Hernandez, who at just 30-years old has already amassed a near Hall-of-Fame resume, at the top of their rotation. General Manager Jerry Dipoto went wheeling and dealing in the offseason after his team came up just short of its first postseason berth. It’s been 15 consecutive seasons without making it to the playoffs for a Mariners team in perfect position to end that streak in 2017.
2016 Record: 86-76
2016 Moneyline Record: +0.69 Units
2016 Over/Under Total Record: 80-76-6
Current World Series Odds: +2800
Current Odds To Win AL: +1300
Current Odds To Win AL West: +240
Regular Season Win Total: 85.5
Nobody was busier than Dipoto this winter and the slew of trades have continued into Spring Training with a deal just a week ago to send Pat Venditte to the Phillies.
Through all the trades and moves, Dipoto has focused on acquiring speed and defense to accompany a strong offensive core of Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager.
Added to that trio this year is Jean Segura who the Mariners acquired from the Diamondbacks off of a career year down in Arizona. To get him, Seattle surrendered a pitcher that had been billed as a future ace in Taiwan Walker along with a number of other pieces.
Segura has played well in the World Baseball Classic and can be a dynamic player up the middle. The team also added Jarrod Dyson to help set the table of the big boys in the middle.
Overall, this offense should be able to manufacture runs and deliver with a considerable amount of pop given the large ballpark they play in. There are a few questions, however, as the team seems prepared to go with a few rookies in right field and first base with Mitch Haniger the first man up in the outfield and with Dan Vogelbach—acquired during the season from the Cubs—slotted to get most of the at bats at first base, at least against right-handed pitching. The Mariners did add a number of good depth pieces to help protect themselves including Danny Valencia, Vogelbach’s likely platoon partner at first and a very good hitter against southpaws.
While the team can survive without top end performances from Haniger and Vogelbach, Seattle is counting on Segura to be close to the player he was last year. They’re also counting on Jarrod Dyson and Leoyns Martin to be everyday players. Martin got the chance last year and was good, but slowed late. Dyson, however, has never seen 300 at bats in a season. He’s been a fourth outfielder, defensive replacement, pinch-hitter type his whole career so it’s hard to say how he’ll hold up with the rigors of playing every day and if he’ll become overexposed in that role.
On the mound, the Mariners are really in need of James Paxton to take that next step in his career. The young hurler has top of the rotation stuff, but hasn’t been able to consistently stay on the field in order to harness it. If he’s able to take that next step, that helps solidify the top of the rotation with Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma both having thrown a lot of pitches in their careers. Iwakuma is nothing more than a stable arm at this point in his career while Hernandez could still be an ace, but has seen his number decline over the last couple years.
Beyond them, this team closes out the rotation with Drew Smyly and Yovanni Gallardo. Smyly has a ton of upside despite a poor year last year in Tampa Bay. He pitched well in a World Baseball Classic start and has shown well in spurts during his career. The bigger question is Gallardo. The former ace struggled mightily in Baltimore last year and was ultimately dumped off to Seattle for an overpriced, poor-defensive platoon outfielder in Seth Smith.
Gallardo should benefit from a change of scenery to a much more pitcher friendly ballpark, but he’s a few years away from being a real reliable starter. In Texas two years ago he put up solid numbers, but was a five and dive arm that allowed too many base runners.
Still, if Gallardo cannot hold up, the team has depth options with Ariel Miranda, who pitched well for them down the stretch last year, along with Chris Heston and Andrew Moore.
Look to the bullpen, the team come up on an ace closer in Edwin Diaz last year. He was filthy after getting called up, striking out 15.3 batters per nine innings. Beyond him is a big weakened with an injury to Steve Cishek.
This team needs to the top of the rotation to perform and the bullpen to find some more guys to compliment Diaz. Both can happen, but Hernandez and Iwakuma are trending in the wrong direction to pick them over Houston or Texas without more than a little luck on your side.
April 3-6: at Astros
April 7-9: at Angels
April 10-13: vs. Astros
April 14-16: vs. Rangers
April 17-19: vs. Marlins
April 20-23: at Athletics
April 25-27: at Tigers
April 28-30: at Indians
Two of this team’s first three series will be against the Astros who, alongside the Rangers, serves as Seattle’s biggest competition in the AL West. We’ll get a chance to see how these two teams stack up against each other real quick.
Both teams need a hot start. We saw Houston get off slow last year and they never recovered even with a very good team on paper. That same thing could happen to either team this year.
In addition to the showdowns with the Astros, the Mariners will get a chance to face four different teams with playoff aspirations in the first calendar month of the season including: Houston, Texas, Detroit and Cleveland. That’s a tough schedule on opponents alone, but they’ll also play five of their eight series on the road.
View this years MLB game match-ups with the complete seasonal schedule for all MLB teams. Each year we will be updating the season schedule with the current information including final scores, so bookmark this page.
The 2017 Major League Baseball season is tentatively set to begin on April 2, 2017, and feature three games, including the 2016 World Series champions Chicago Cubs facing off against the St. Louis Cardinals, which will be ESPN's first Sunday Night Baseball game of the year.
The 88th MLB All-Star Game will be hosted by the Miami Marlins and will be played at Marlins Park on July 11, 2017. It will be televised nationally on Fox.
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