Feb 13, 2014; Peoria, AZ, USA; Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez blows a bubble during team workouts at Peoria Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Spring Training 2013- A Dismally Curt Review:
Yes. Spring Training is here. We’ve all heard the song and dance and we’ve all been quietly fist-pumping the air because we don’t have to speculate any longer– ok we do still have to speculate, but at least the players are actually doing something while we do that.
The topic of today is a bit of a somber one– basically I am here to buoy everyone’s expectations that will peak and plummet like a roller coaster at least a dozen times over the next month plus before opening day.
Last Spring Training the Mariners went batshit crazy, excuse my French– well actually I am spending the semester abroad in Paris, so that makes it ok right?
Eight, EIGHT, players that ended up on the opening day roster batted over .300 in the spring. That included Robert Andino and Jason Bay (yep, really), Dustin Ackley and Justin Smoak (no kidding), Michael Morse and Jesus Montero (this is getting more depressing every single second).
It is safe to say only two of the players who hit over .300– Raul Ibanez and Kendrys Morales— provided consistent productivity at the major league level for all of 2013. Sure, Ackley was one of only 11 American League players to hit over .300 in the second half of the season, but he was sent down to Triple-A mid-season because he was playing that poorly. Oh yea, Smoak was sent down too. And Montero– the guy who was supposed to be our starting catcher for the entire season (whose f&*%^$# idea was that again?).
On the mound the M’s had some pleasant surprises too. Remember when Brandon Maurer had a 1.50 ERA over 24.0 innings and stole away a spot in the opening day rotation? Yea that didn’t pan out so well.
Stephen Pryor and Carter Capps looked lights out. Then Pryor got hurt and didn’t pitch another inning after 7.0 scoreless to start the season. And Capps had a rough sophomore stint, and he doesn’t play for the M’s anymore (if you didn’t know already, he was traded this offseason to the Miami Marlins for Logan Morrison, who plays a baseball position, just not really sure which).
And Kameron Loe? He had a 1.50 ERA through 12.0 innings pitched and looked like he could be an anchor in the ‘Pen. He didn’t last a month in Mariner blue.
Oh and the Mariners also decided to go 22-11 in Spring Training. If you did math and stretched that out over the entire season, the M’s would have won 108 game and lost 54. Yes that sounds totally unrealistic, but most of us didn’t expect the M’s to go 71-91 after their Spring Training showing. Or even in mid April when Morse was leading the AL in home runs and the team looked like it might actually gel.
Feb 13, 2014; Peoria, AZ, USA; Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez (left) catches a ball next to managerLloyd McClendon
looks on during team workouts at Peoria Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Spring Training 2014- Pointless or Potentially Productive?
Being a Mariners fan is hard. I’ve been one for almost 21 years and save a few seasons that I was barely old enough to remember, there hasn’t been a whole lot to brag about as an M’s fan.
That makes us susceptible to high hopes where mere glimpses become irrefutable evidence. Don’t let that happen to you this Spring Training.
There will be a lot of competition in camp, a lot of shuffling with the depth chart and positions and the batting order. All we really know today is that Robinson Cano will bat third and play 2nd, and Kyle Seager will bat second and play 3rd (isn’t that kind of cool how I did that?).
Otherwise it’s anybodies game. There are position battles at every other position (especially the outfield). Shortstop will be a fun position to watch. And catcher will be an interesting decision for the organization.
BUT NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS IN SPRING TRAINING DO NOT HANG YOUR HAT ON IT PLEASE.
I’ve done it too many times before, I know how much it hurt.
Just be happy that baseball is back; watch each game, each interview, read each article, study each box score, with a grain of salt.
Could the Mariners do something special this season? Sure they could.
But don’t expect that to be decided or determined by what happens in Spring Training.
Sorry for the pessimism everyone! I just know how much it hurts when you get your hopes up. Have faith though, and remain true to the blue. And keep your eye on SoDo MoJo for all your Mariners needs.
Long Live the King!