Dec 12, 2013; Settle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano (left) and Seattle Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik wait for an interview session to start at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

What The Mariners Look Like If They Stand Pat

Sep 2, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez (34) delivers a pitch in the first inning of the game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Mariners have been quiet lately, with only minor league deals following the acquisitions of Robinson Cano, Corey Hart and Logan Morrison. The team has been said to desire another starting pitcher to slot behind Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma, and they need a right handed bat (what they really need is better players however they can get them, but I will let the narrative fly for now).

While I strongly believe the team will make at least one more big move — be it singing a free agent starting pitcher or outfielder, or trading for a bat — there is always the chance that Jack either does not see another worthwhile move, or chooses to balk at the high asking prices of the remaining available players.

Even though the team is likely not a contender as is, there is more talent than past teams, and the upside for success is there.

That being said, below is the projected roster, along with their WAR, as projected by Steamer.

Order Position Player WAR 1 Hernandez 4.7
1 SS Miller 3.2 2 Iwakuma 3.4
2 3B Seager 2.9 3 Walker 1.6
3 2B Cano 5.2 4 Paxton 1.3
4 DH Hart 2.2 5 Ramirez 1.5
5 LF Morrison 2
6 1B Smoak 0.8 BP Farquar 0.7
7 C Zunino 1.9 BP Pryor 0.2
8 LF Ackley 1.1 BP Furbush 0.4
9 CF Saunders 1 BP Medina 0.3
BP Wilhelmsen 0.1
Bench OF Gutierrez 0.1 BP Luetge 0.1
Bench 2B Franklin 0.1 BP Maurer 0.2
Bench UTI Bloomquist 0.2
Bench C Sucre 0.2 Total 35.4
Rep. Level 47.7
Wins 83.1

Steamer sees this current team as just a tick above .500, which certainly makes sense on paper. There are a couple stars, as well as some solid supporting players, but multiple positions could stand to be upgraded. I think if you were to poll the fans, the average would end up in that ballpark.

However, an argument could be made that some of the player above are being low-balled.

Felix has not finished with a WAR under 5.0 for the last two seasons, and only once in his last five campaigns. Dustin Ackley may have turned a corner in the second half of last season, and if that is the case, he would almost certainly finish with more than 1.1 WAR.

I also don’t think it would be out of the question for at least one of Taijuan Walker, James Paxton and Erasmo Ramirez to finish with over 2 WAR on the season.

And on top of that, players break out all the time, seemingly without reason, so you never really know. Because of all that, if everything gelled perfectly, the team probably has 90-win upside.

That said, there is an equal or greater chance that some of the hitters, such as Hart and Morrison, don’t get to their 2+ WAR projections, or that one or more of the younger guys could struggle again.

While there will no doubt be disagreement about who these players should be, I think most would agree that Mariners need more if they plan on competing right now. I normally hate when teams feel so strongly about winning that they choose to overpay or make future-mortgaging moves to attain a few extra wins.

But it seems that the Mariners already chose to take that route, and go into win-now mode. And if that is the case, they cannot do it half way. They have to be willing to spend more money, and guarantee that they actually do win, rather than throwing away money or assets, only to win 85 games.

If I had to throw out specific names, I would suggest going all out for Masahiro Tanaka (7 years and $120 million is fine by me), and avoiding overpaying for Nelson Cruz just because he is a right handed hitter with power.

What do you guys think about the current team, and what moves would you like to see the team make to wrap up what has been an exciting offseason?

Tags: Seattle Mariners

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