The Mariners went on a spending spree this offseason. The started the offseason by giving Robinson Cano the ‘godfather offer’ and couldn’t refuse. They then added Corey Hart, Logan Morrison and Fernando Rodney.
The AL West is loaded this season (if you omit the Houston Astros). The Rangers, A’s and Angels are all expected to battle for the division crown and AL Wild Card spots. Is there room for Seattle in that race?
Players often have a down year immediately after they sign a huge long-term deal. Will Robinson Cano be an exception?
Here is the 2014 MLB season preview for the Seattle Mariners.
2013 Win/Loss Record: 71-91
Key Additions: 2B Robinson Cano, OF Corey Hart, OF Logan Morrison, RP Fernando Rodney, OF Willie Boomquist, C John Buck & RP Joe Beimel
Key Losses: OF Raul Ibanez, DH Kendrys Morales, SP Joe Saunders, OF Endy Chavez, OF Jason Bay, OF Franklin Gutierrez, RP Oliver Perez & RP Carter Capps,
Interleague Schedule: NL East + San Diego Padres
Projected Starters: Mike Zunino, Justin Smoak, Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager, Brad Miller, Dustin Ackley, Michael Saunders, Logan Morrison & Corey Hart
Projected Starting Rotation: Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, Erasmo Ramirez, Taijuan Walker & James Paxton
Closer: Fernando Rodney
Fantasy Sleeper: 2B/OF Dustin Ackley – Ackley is owned in less than 10% of leagues, but had a great Spring. He hit over .400 and showed some power. The former #2 overall pick in the 2009 MLB Draft hasn’t lived up to his potential yet. He started playing better in the second half, which is promising. I like that he still has second base eligibility, but that will go away after this season with the acquisition of Robinson Cano. Ackley is at least worth a spot on the bench.
Prospect To Keep Your Eye On: SP Danny Hultzen – He’s the most MLB-ready pitcher currently in the minors. Top pitching prospects Taijuan Walker and James Paxton will begin the season in Seattle’s starting rotation. Seattle has an abundance of young arms in the minors. They should consider moving one of them for a bat or bullpen help. Hultzen was once a top prospect in the organization, but had a disastrous 2012 season in Triple-A. He bounced back and had a 2.05 ERA in six starts last season.
Team Analysis: Seattle tried to keep up with the Joneses and spent the offseason signing free agents. They landed top free agent Robinson Cano, and had to pay him handsomely. They also added Corey Hart, Logan Morrison and closer Fernando Rodney. Many people have them as an AL West contender, but I don’t see it. Their bullpen is top heavy with no depth and the back-end of the rotation is young and unproven. They are still at least a year away. The AL West is the toughest division in baseball. They will be up against the top teams in the American League.
2014 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 81 (Prediction: UNDER)
2014 Projected Win/Loss Record: 73-89 (4th AL West)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.