The Seattle Mariners were supposed to take over the AL West when Robinson Cano signed his huge contract to come to town. It hasn’t went as planned for the Mariners. They now have a new general manager (Jerry DiPoto) and manager (Scott Servais) to run the team.
DiPoto did the usual ‘new general manager’ things like revamp the bullpen and trade some mid-level players for other mid-level players. He didn’t make any huge moves, but enough to change a lot of faces.
The Mariners haven’t made the postseason since they won 116 games in 2001. Can this team break the long drought or will they be another average Seattle team?
Here is the 2016 MLB season preview for the Seattle Mariners.
2015 Win/Loss Record: 76-86
Key Additions: OF Nori Aoki, OF Leonys Martin, SP Nathan Karns, 1B Adam Lind, SP Wade Miley, RP Steve Cishek, C Chris Iannetta, RP Joaquin Benoit, RP Ryan Cook, 1B Dae Ho Lee, RP Cody Martin, RP Evan Scribner, RP Nick Vincent, C Steve Clevenger, SS Luis Sardinas, C Rob Brantly, 1B EFren Navarro, RP Blake Parker, RP Joel Peralta, SP Donn Roach & OF Dan Robertson
Key Losses: 1B Logan Morrison, SS Brad Miller, OF Mark Trumbo, RP Danny Farquhar, RP Carson Smith, RP Tom Wilhelmsen, RP Joe Beimel, C Jesus Montero, SP Roenis Elias, RP Logan Kensing, OF Willie Bloomquist & SP Rob Rasmussen
Interleague Schedule: NL Central
Projected Starters: Chris Iannetta, Adam Lind, Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager, Ketel Marte, Nori Aoki, Leonys Martin, Seth Smith & Nelson Cruz
Projected Starting Rotation: Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, Taijuan Walker, Wade Miley & Nathan Karns
Closer: Steve Cishek
Fantasy Sleeper: RP Joaquin Benoit – Steve Cishek is currently the closer in Seattle, but Benoit has always been a consistent pitcher near the end of games. Cishek was a wreck last season and lost his job early in the season. If that happens again, Benoit is a pretty good backup for the closer job.
Prospect To Keep Your Eye On: 1B D.J. Peterson – Peterson spent most of the last two seasons in Double-A, but did advance to Triple-A at the end of last season. He hasn’t shown the same ability to hit for average as he did in High-A, but the power potential is still there. Adam Lind is a nice player to keep first base warm until Peterson is ready to take over.
Team Analysis: Expectations have been high for Seattle since they signed Robinson Cano to a huge contract two Summers ago. It hasn’t went as expected for fans in Seattle. They’ve been hovering around .500 since Cano came to town.
Seattle decided to scrap nearly the entire bullpen after last season. They signed some of the best free agent middle relievers…but forgot to sign a legit closer. Steve Cishek currently has the job, but I expect he has a short leash. Mariners manager Scott Servais is a former catcher, so he will know if Cishek needs the hook.
As you look at Seattle’s roster, you can see why expectations are high. You have All-Stars Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager and Nelson Cruz carrying your offense. They also have speed from Nori Aoki and rookie Ketel Marte. The big question mark is pitching. King Felix is automatic, but the rest of the starters are sketchy. Iwakuma was injured for most of last year, we are still waiting for Taijuan Walker to prove himself, Nathan Karns had a ‘nice’ season in Tampa Bay and Wade Miley is barely above replacement level. Also, they replaced the entire bullpen, which doesn’t always mean they will be better than the previous bullpen.
Seattle will need to overachieve in my eyes to make a run at the AL West title. The division is loaded and I just don’t think they are on the same level as the Astros, Angels and Rangers.
2016 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 82.5 (Prediction: UNDER)
2016 Projected Win/Loss Record: 76-86 (4th in 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.