State of the Mariners Address: An Interview with the Seattle Times’ Larry Stone

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Aug 30, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher

Taijuan Walker

(27) pitches during the fourth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

What’s the one thing the M’s HAVE to do this offseason to give this team a shot of being successful in future seasons?

LS: “Boost their right-handed hitting, get a veteran starter… [we have] two at the top, two kids at the bottom.”

(Referring to Felix and ‘Kuma, Taijuan Walker and James Paxton, respectively).

LS: [The Mariners need to] “get somebody better than Joe Saunders or Kevin Millwood. Get somebody better so they are making some pretty good rotations.”

But the Mariners have had decent starting pitching for a few years now, though last year was a serious case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. What is equally the must, like Larry Stone said first and foremost, is to get a power right-handed bat. Because we’ve seen these last few years guys like King Felix and Iwakuma go seven or eight innings without allowing a run and end up with a no-decision. Runs need to be scored behind great pitching to win baseball games.

There are guys like Erasmo Ramirez and Brandon Maurer waiting in the wings, so what is wrong with sticking to the starting pitching we have in-house?

LS: “I think Taijuan’s time has come. And Paxton played so well he is in the lead [for a rotation spot] as well. But starting three new guys [in the rotation] next season is just too much.”

What I got, and what I hope you are getting out of Larry Stone’s comments are that this Mariners team has holes, some of them gaping, but none that cannot be realistically fixed in the near future.

It starts with pitching, pitching and pitching. Then comes someone who can consistently hit homers out of left field in Safeco. And lastly, and equally important, these young guys the M’s have so invested in need to step up and play baseball on a consistently productive basis.