Dave Cameron wrote over on his site about what a playoff team looks like. As it stands the Mariners finished 2011 with +22 WAR. Considering the current roster Dave Cameron estimates the Mariners would need to add approximately 10-15 wins, which would be a huge amount, to be close to be considered a playoff team.
Dave is a smart guy and it’s not that I think he overlooked this aspect but it does need to be said. The Mariners outfield combined for -1.3WAR, third base was -0.7, and DH was -0.2. Getting positive WAR, if not league average production, from those five positions could potentially add as much as 10 WAR by itself. This is before we even are talking about increases in WAR from 1B and 2B.
I believe the current roster that the Mariners ended last season with is a true 30 WAR team, which would make the Mariners roughly a 73 win team. I think without the epic stretch of losses that they had in July this team would have at least won 70 games. But, you can’t pretend that it didn’t happen. You just have to move on.
I’ve said it repeatedly and I’ll say it again I expect to add enough talent this off-season to be a true 77 win team. It really shouldn’t be that difficult and even getting this team to .500 isn’t going to be that tough. What is going to be tough is making the transition from being a .500 team to being a playoff team. But we’ll deal with that when the time comes.
Adding a minimum of 4 WAR to this team this off-season should be an easy enough process. The real task is going to be doing it without giving up pieces for the future. I don’t mind seeing a few certain pieces go in a trade, you have to give something up to get something in return and you can’t trade trash and expect gold, but there are enough available pieces out on the market that you can add without taking away.
I’m not as worried about the pitching staff. I know a few people are but don’t be, Jack Zduriencik has consistently shown the ability to both find and add pitching to this team. I am extremely curious as to know how he plans on fixing the position player side of this roster going forward. He hasn’t nearly been as successful finding that type of talent, though you do have to give him credit for Russell Branyan.
Free-Agency has opened and already we’ve seen 148 players file. The hot stove is just getting going, it’s a long winter but trust me this thing is going to be burning hot rather soon.