The Mariners made one of the biggest trades this offseason when they sent young starter Taijuan Walker, speedy shortstop Ketel Marte to Arizona for All-Star Jean Segura and outfielder Mitch Haniger
The Mariners haven’t made the postseason since 2001. Can this team break the long drought or will they fall short again
Here is the 2017 MLB season preview for the Seattle Mariners.
2016 Win/Loss Record: 86-76
Key Additions: SS Jean Segura, OF Jarrod Dyson, SP Yovani Gallardo, SP Drew Smyly, 3B Danny Valencia, SP Chris Heston, RP Marc Rzepczynski, C Carlos Ruiz, RP Casey Fien, RP James Pazos, RP Shae Simmons, C Tuffy Gosewisch, OF Mitch Haniger, RP Jean Machi, RP Micah Owings & RP Nick Hagadone
Key Losses: SP Taijuan Walker, SS Ketel Marte, SP Nathan Karns, OF Norichika Aoki, 1B Adam Lind, OF Seth Smith, C Chris Iannetta, OF Franklin Gutierrez, RP Vidal Nuno, RP Tom Wilhelmsen & RP Drew Storen
Interleague Schedule: NL East
Projected Starters: Mike Zunino, Dan Vogelbach, Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager, Jean Segura, Jarrod Dyson, Leonys Martin, Mitch Haniger & Nelson Cruz
Projected Starting Rotation: Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, James Paxton, Drew Smyly & Yovani Gallardo
Closer: Edwin Diaz
Fantasy Sleeper: 1B Dan Vogelbach – Vogelbach was a member of the Cubs until he was sent to Seattle last season for pitcher Mike Montgomery. He was blocked from advancing to the Majors by Anthony Rizzo. The Cubs would have loved to have him as a DH, but that’s a no-no in the National League. Vogelbach has power and will be a nice addition to the Mariners lineup. He’s not being drafted, but he will be someone you wished you had on your team at various points this year.
Prospect To Keep Your Eye On: OF Tyler O’Neill – O’Neill has been in Seattle’s farm system since he was drafted out of high school in the 3rd round of the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft. He has been able to hit at every level and is progressing according to plan. He killed it in Double-A last season after hitting .293 with 24 homers and drove in 102 RBI. He should start out in Triple-A this year and it wouldn’t surprise me if he ended up in the Majors at some point. I could see him sharing time with Dyson at some point.
Team Analysis: Seattle had a successful year even though they fell a few games short of a Wild Card spot. They haven’t played in the postseason since they won 116 games back in 2001. They have kind of hovered in mediocrity since that year.
The Mariners first big “we’re going for it” signing was Robinson Cano’s huge contract before the 2014 season. He didn’t appear very comfortable on the team the first two years. He had good years, but he looked like his old self last season. He hit .298, hit a career-high 39 homers and drove in 103 RBI. I think signing Nelson Cruz has helped protect Cano in the lineup. I think the addition of Jean Segura this offseason will help as well.
Seattle made a few splashes this offseason, but the biggest was the trade that netted them Segura. They also lost some talent via free agency and other trades. The Yovani Gallardo/Seth Smith trade is a much bigger trade than people realize. I think both teams (Seattle and Baltimore) will benefit from it.
There are a lot of new faces in Seattle this year. It could take awhile for this team to gel. Most of the impact players on Seattle didn’t change, but a lot of the role players are new or are changing roles. I’m curious to see how well they play, since I worry about the chemistry. I still think the Mariners should battle for the Wild Card this season.
2017 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 85.5 (Prediction: UNDER)
2017 Projected Win/Loss Record: 85-77 (3rd 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.