Playing Pepper


Every Spring, the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (which as you may or may not know, Sodo Mojo is a part of), does a little segment called “Playing Pepper” with bloggers from each team. Basically, they asked me five questions, and I answered them. Great excuse for me to finally post something, right?

Q: What was your opinion of the Seattle offseason?

A: It wasn’t as flashy as their offseason a year ago, but that was to be expected. In 2010 it was clear that they were really going for it, but they’ve had to take a completely different approach for 2011. Instead of making two or three big splashes, they brought in a whole lot of small-name role players, and aside from the Miguel Olivo signing, it’d hard to really complain about any of the moves they made. The front office has known all along that this probably isn’t a group of players that’s quite ready to really compete just yet, and they’ve built the team accordingly.

Q: Will Erik Bedard make any meaningful contribution?

A: It’s never a good idea to make any definitive prediction about someone like Erik Bedard, so I won’t. If the Mariners can get 80 good innings out of him, I’ll be satisfied, but they really had nothing to lose by signing him.

Q: What do you expect out of Justin Smoak?

A: Smoak probably isn’t going to reach his all-star potential in 2011, but he started to show signs towards the end of last season that he’s ready to start producing for this team. It’s important not to expect too much, as he’s still maturing, but it’s not far-fetched that he’ll post 1 or 2 WAR and give us a nice little taste of what his future will bring.

Q: Is there any Mariners prospect that will make a significant impact this season?

A: There certainly could be. Second baseman Dustin Ackley and pitcher Michael Pineda are 1-2 on any credible Mariners prospect list, and both are expected to arrive on the big league scene at some point in 2011. They’ll both fight for roster spots during Spring Training, but realistically they’re both likely to spend the first couple of months of the season down in Triple-A Tacoma. Look for both of their names this Summer – Ackley is a very high percentage type of prospect, and Pineda has some amazing potential.

Q: What is your prediction on Seattle’s record and divisional finish?

A: Probably somewhere in the 74-80 win range, which may or may not be good enough for third place in the AL West. At the very least, it’ll be a much more bearable season than 2010 was.