2013 MLB Team Preview: Seattle Mariners

Felix+Hernandez+Seattle+Mariners+ContractSeattle made a few headlines this offseason. They paid Felix Hernandez the most paid to a pitcher in Major League history and made two different trades to acquire much-needed power.

The three best teams in the AL West got much better, so Seattle had to make a decision. Do they stand pat and slowly build their team back up or make some big moves in hopes stealing a Wild Card spot? They went with the second option.

Did Seattle make a smart move by acquiring talent to win right now?

Here is the 2013 MLB season preview for the Seattle Mariners.

2012 Win/Loss Record75-87

Key Additions: OF Mike Morse, OF Kendrys Morales, OF Jason Bay, OF Raul Ibanez, P Kameron Loe, P Joe Saunders, P Jon Garland, C Ronny Paulino, 1B Mike Jacobs, 2B Robert Andino

Key Losses: P Jason Vargas, 1B/OF Mike Carp, P Shawn Kelley, C Miguel Olivo, 3B Chone Figgins, C John Jaso

Interleague Schedule: NL Central + San Diego Padres

Projected Starters: Jesus Montero, Justin Smoak, Dustin Ackley, Kyle Seager, Brendan Ryan, Michael Morse, Franklin Gutierrez, Michael Saunders, Kendrys Morales

Projected Starting Rotation: Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, Joe Saunders, Erasmo Ramirez, Jon Garland

Closer: Tom Wilhelmsen

Fantasy Sleepers: C Mike Zunino & 1B/DH Kendrys Morales – We could not have picked two fantasy sleepers on opposite sides of the spectrum. You have Zunino, Seattle’s top prospect who has yet to appear in the Majors and Morales, a player who has struggled with injuries over the last three seasons. I don’t expect Zunino to appear in the Majors until the All-Star break at the earliest. If the Mariners weren’t so deep, it would be sooner. He could use more minor league seasoning, but he’s already better than Kelly Shoppach and Ronny Paulino, who are set to backup Jesus Montero. As far as Morales goes, in 2009, the last year he was fully healthy, he had a line of .306/34/108. He is healthy going into Spring Training healthy and I expect him to hit for power and average. He may not hit 500 at-bats since Seattle is a bit crowded in the outfield and designated hitter, but he will outproduce the round you draft him in. There’s a lot of value in drafting Morales late in the draft or picking him up for a couple bucks in an auction.

Team Analysis: The AL West looks to be the best division in baseball. If you subtract the American League newcomers Houston Astros, any other team in the West could theoretically make it into the playoffs. Unfortunately for Seattle, the Rangers and Angels are just too good. Their batting order is improved, but after Felix Hernandez, their pitching rotation is mediocre at best. They traded Jason Vargas away to get Morales. Vargas was underrated because King Felix is so good. The trade will either be a complete miss or a home run. I don’t think there’s any middle ground with that trade. Hernandez could easily get 20 wins this season, because he’ll actually get run support this season. Seattle will need to save a few of those runs, because they will need to put up numbers to win when the rest of the staff is on the hill. If Seattle’s top pitching prospects (Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen or James Paxton) get called up and turn into a legit #2 starter, maybe Seattle could contend for one of the Wild Card spots, but I believe those prospects are still a year away from being factors. At the very least, Seattle is a playoff contender in 2014.

Sportsbook.ag’s 2013 Wins Over/Under Line: 78.0 (Prediction: UNDER)

2013 Projected Win/Loss Record: 68-94 (4th in AL West)

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