At the start of the offseason, I went through position by position** looking at the players in either Tacoma or on the Roster and tried to figure out what talent was already here and what might need to be brought in. Just for fun, I also included some not-too-serious predictions on what the Mariners would do. Well, I decided that before the games officially begin tonight, that I should look back at my predictions and see how they went. My prediction for the outfield is exceptionally entertaining.
Reports state that the Mariners are in the market for a starting pitcher this winter, and while that might be true based on the talent on the roster, I’m going to ignore those reports and hope that the M’s spend every last penny available to upgrade their historically bad 2010 offense. With that assumption in place, and the fact that Felix, Vargas and Fister seem like locks for the rotation, that leaves 2 spots that need filled. Since there isn’t a better option, I’ll throw in Pineda even though above I said June was more likely. For the 5th spot it would appear to be Rowland-Smith or Luke French, though you never know, Pauley might be given a chance as well (and this all might be just temporary while the team waits for Robles or Feierabend).
To pick between the 3 of them, I decided to let my cat choose. I put out 3 cat treats, one for each player and waited to see which she found and ate first. Apparently my cat thinks Luke French will start the year in the rotation, and who am I to argue. It should be noted that the silly feline still hasn’t bothered to eat the one dedicated to Rowland-Smith. I’m not sure what that means about his future with the Mariners, but it can’t be good, right?
Reality: I feel pretty good about this one. Not only did I correctly name Pineda a starter, but I also correctly guessed that the M’s wouldn’t sign another starter. Throw in my cat’s prediction that RRS would be gone, and you’d have to say I did pretty well on this one.
The one thing I missed was Erik Bedard. I honestly would have never thought that I’d ever see him pitch in another regular season game as a Mariner. I’m pretty glad I was wrong about him.
Predction (be ready for a laugh):
Guti and Ichiro in CF and RF. (that’s the easy part) Saunders and Carp will be traded this offseason in an effort to bolster the offense, leaving Bradley as the only real option in LF. He’ll put up poor numbers and land on the DL with a “mysterious injury” for most of the year and will be replaced by Halman as the everyday LF.
Reality: I got Ichiro right! Actually, Guti will be back playing soon so that is correct in my book. I really though Saunders was done in the organization after the team had tried to dump him in the first Lee trade and then he’d put up more bad numbers. He even looked headed for Tacoma just 10 days ago, but he still starts in CF for the M’s. I really really hope I was wrong on Bradley. The team needs to to produce in a big way. As for Halman… umm… HEY! WHAT’S THAT OVER THERE ———->
Smoak is a lock to be the everyday first baseman. As for the DH spot, my magical coin flip told me that Russell Branyan wont be back, and I doubt the team will go into 2011 with Carp as the everyday DH.
Reality: Not too shabby. Smoak is at 1B, Brayan isn’t back, and Cust was signed to be DH.
A good part of the M’s rebuilding plan hinges on Moore. I expect him to be given every chance to prove he can play at this level. I also fully expect the M’s to sign another veteran mentor for Moore like Josh Bard was in 2010, and I expect to see RJ as a part of a trade this off season. Either that or he’ll be released outright to make room on the 40 man roster prior to the Rule 5 draft.
Reality: Rob Johnson is indeed gone, which wasn’t really surprising. The Olivo signing was a surprise, as he’s a starter and it relegates Moore to a backup role.
Jack Wilson remains the everyday SS for as long as he can stay healthy. My coins flip prediction system says he’ll make 2 long trips to the DL, and likely will only play in around 100 games, meaning he’ll need a solid backup. A coin flip also told me that it won’t be Josh Wilson as the backup
Reality: Jack Wilson was moved to 2nd, and the “backup” that was brought in for depth (Brendan Ryan) won the starting job. Josh Wilson was indeed cut.
F Figgins at 3B seems seems like a given, as does Ackley coming up in June from Tacoma. I flipped a coin and it came up that the player who’ll start the year at 2B while the team waits for Ackley to be ready isn’t currently on the roster.
Reality: I was close. Figgins is indeed at third, and the M’s brought someone in to play second, but Brendan Ryan then beat out Jack Wilson for the SS job moving Wilson over to second. Still, since the job is Ackley’s come June, it doesn’t really matter.
* Normally this type of statement is refered to as”eating crow,” but considering Harrison’s last name I figured that would be considered inappropriate.
** I intentionally didn’t even try predict the bullpen. The ‘pen is always impossible.