It Looks to be an Uneventful Offseason

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[Note: I’m new to this blog.  Howdy.]

Jack Zduriencik has done a great deal of good for the Mariners’ organization. He’s emphasized defense.  He’s brought “Wak Ball” to Seattle.  He’s turned a 60-win team with virtually no strengths into a slick-fielding, light-hitting defensive powerhouse. He’s emphasized that an improvement in one department and a fallback in another is not a worthwhile improvement.  He isn’t Bill Bavasi.  What more can you ask for?

How about an interesting offseason?

I have bad new for you, Mariners fans.  If that’s your wish, you’re going to end up very sad pandas.

The M’s have 11 options for their 5-man starting staff in 2010.  However, Felix and Ryan-Rowland Smith seem to be the only certainties of these 11. But don’t worry. The M’s now have a plethera of talented young pitchers to choose from: Luke French, Ian Snell (assuming he stops being ineffective….any time now, Ian…), Brandon Morrow, Ryan Feierabend, Doug Fister, Jason Vargas, Chris Jakubauskas, Garrett Olson, and heck, maybe Carlos Silva learned how to pitch.  None of these names jump out at you (well, maybe Fister’s does, but if it does you’re a sick, sick person), but each of these young pitchers has held their own this season.  The fact of the matter is that the M’s have depth.

Now let’s look at the offense.  Catcher pretty much belongs to Adam Moore, hopefully for years to come.  Branyan may or may not be resigned by the club, but Carp is a more than capable option.  It it was up to me, I’d extend Branyan for another season. At second, Lopez is certainly looking like some mighty fine trade-bait, but I’m not sure the M’s have anyone to replace him. Bill Hall and Jack Hannahan make a decent third base tandem, and Zduriencik seems unlikely to re-sign Beltre (sob).  And, of course, Jack Wilson is not Yuniesky Betancourt.  The outfield of Ichiro, Gutierrez, and Saunders is all but set in stone for next year.  Their collective UZR and range factor is off the charts.  DH is an interesting spot, however.  Hideki Matsui, Hank Blalock, or Nick Johnson would all make nice pickups.  This is the only position where I would look for the M’s to buy.

And, of course, the bullpen.  The Mariners’ organization somehow always has a good bullpen.  As long as good Sean Kelley, good Mark Lowe, and good David Aardsma are around next year, they’re just about set.  If Joshua Fields can get his butt up to the majors, the M’s will be in pretty good shape.  One possible option would be to sign a left-handed reliever, but Garrett Olson’s numbers out of the bullpen might earn him a spot.

If anything, look out for minor moves, the types of moves GMZ has been making all this year.  So don’t hold your breath.