The Mariners seemed in on Prince Fielder for much of the off-season, and he would certainly have provided much-needed pop, and a makeover, for the offense-light Mariners. But he signed with Detroit, and the Mariners made only one major acquisition, but at a huge loss. They sent potential ace Michael Pineda to the Yankees for potential monster masher Jesus Montero. Hopefully both players will pan out for both teams, and they are certainly safe bets. Montero smashed major league hitting in this call-up last year, after ripping through the minors. Whether he can catch is another question, but he looks to be at least a #5 slot DH who’ll hit 30 homers a years. Seattle will be happy if that comes to pass. But the season doesn’t look too promising. Task master Eric Wedge does not have a lot of tools at his disposal, and the best Seattle can likely hope for is for other teams to falter and give them an outside shot at the wild card. Even Ichiro Suzuki seems to finally be showing signs of age, and the up-and-comers to replace him are few and far between.
In: Jesus Montero (trade), Hisashi Iwakuma (free agent)
Out: Michael Pineda (trade)
Strength: King Felix Hernandez is as good an ace as they come, but many a prayer will be required after his slot in the rotation, particularly with the departure of ace #2 Michael Pineda. If Montero can maintain his form, then he really helps the lineup. Brandon League is a top-drawer closer. Justin Smoak has a lot of power and is only 25, so if he can raise his batting average he might become a second Montero.
Weakness: there is not a lot of might in the infield, the potential of Justin Smoak aside. The rotation after Hernandez is a wing and a prayer. Mike Carp, Jesus Montero, and Justin Smoak need to blossom, quickly, for this team to have a fighting chance.
Manager: Eric Wedge
Projected Rotation: Felix Hernandez, Jason Vargas, Hisashi Iwakuma, Blake Beavan, Hector Noesi
Projected Closer: Brandon League
Projected Starting Lineup:
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Jesus Montero DH
Mike Carp 1B
Franklin Gutierrez CF
Miguel Olivo C
Dustin Ackley 2B
Kyle Seager 3B
Brendan Ryan SS