The Future Is Promising For Next Year’s Mariners


What an amazing 2014 season huh? First off the Mariners had a winning season. YAY! Second, the Mariners came within a game of going to the postseason for the first time since 2001, and finally 2 million+ fans came out to watch the Mariners play this season!

So now the question is; “what do the Mariners need to make 2015 even better”? First off they got rid of Corey Hart, so that’s a start. General manager Jack Z now needs to go out and be smart and sign some decent players.

I’m not talking about signing some old has-beens. I’m talking about going out and signing players that WILL make a difference next season for making a push for the American League West title.

First off, Jack needs to sign Kyle Seager to a decent multi-year deal that will not only have him in Seattle for awhile, but will also have some money left over to sign some even better players to help out the lineup. Also, re-sign Chris Young too. Next, are outside free agents that Jack Z should look at and possibly sign.

Victor Martinez is the biggest free agent that Jack Z needs to first take a glance at. Martinez is coming off perhaps one of the best seasons a hitter could have! Martinez in 151 games only struck out 42 times, had a league leading .409 OBP and .974 OPS, and hit 35 home runs and drove in 103!

Not bad for a 35 year old huh? That’s the big problem though for me is Martinez’s age, he’s 35 going on 36. So if Jack Z were to sign him to a contract it shouldn’t be longer than 2 years.

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Geovany Soto is another free agent that should have Jack Z’s eye. The Mariners do have a decent backup catcher in Jesus Sucre but it never hurts to glance at another just for kicks. Melky Cabrera and Delmon Young should also get some looks as possible corner OF’s or DH. Jack needs to stay away from Kendrys Morales. Look, yes perhaps a full Spring Training would have done him some good but better not take your chances with him.

Justin Smoak is another player that needs to go. The Smoak era is dead, the Logan Morrison one is where its at. Lomo was a huge contributor for this season and really helped the Mariners’ near playoff run they had.

But D.J. Peterson could possibly be major league ready. The Mariners have taken great care in his progression after he was hit by a ball in the face in 2013. Peterson has done nothing but put up major league ready numbers in both Single-A and Double-A. Peterson put up a combined .297 batting average, 31 home runs, 111 RBI’s, 31 doubles, 147 hits, a .912 OPS, and a .552 slugging percentage!

Peterson though, won’t start the 2015 season at the major league level, but will get a chance to compete for the first basemen position in Spring Training. Now, if he doesn’t get the job he will possibly spend the first 2-3 months in Triple-A Tacoma before he gets the possible call-up to the major league level. That will put Lomo as your possible everyday DH, if they don’t sign someone to fill that position.

Now with the Mariners shortstop position, manager Lloyd McClendon has said that the position is:

"“…wide open between both Chris Taylor and Brad Miller, indicating that Miller could be an option as a super utility player after showing excellent natural instincts working in the outfield late in the season with outfield coach Andy Van Slyke.” — via Greg Johns,"

Jack Z did mention Danny Hultzen was making great progression and  is getting back healthier than ever. The Mariners could see Hultzen next season making his major league debut. Hultzen was shut down until next spring after he missed the entire 2014 season following a rotator cuff surgery on his left shoulder.

As for the outfield situation, currently it looks like Dustin Ackley, Austin Jackson, Michael Saunders, James Jones, and if they re-sign him Endy Chavez will be out there making plays for the M’s next year.

Lloyd though was quoted saying about Jackson that, “Not the same swing I saw when I was in Detroit. I’m very confident you’re going to see a different player next spring.” Jackson definitely was not the same after he came from Detroit as he only hit .229 and struck out 59 times in 54 games with Seattle. Look I’m just as confident as Lloyd is that Jackson will return next spring better and ready to improve. As for Saunders, Jack Z said that he likes Saunders but he needs to find a way to stay healthy. Yeah that’s a big 10-4 good buddy on that one.

Saunders even though he had a shorten season had a great year hitting wise, he batted a career high .272 with 8 home runs and drove in 34 so if Saunders wants to remain on this team he needs to stay healthy, if he does that just imagine what the Condor could do with a full healthy season. Jones made a name for himself this year being one of the biggest call ups and surprises for the M’s. He stole 27 bases and was only caught once through the entire year! But after starting half of his season with a .284 batting average pitchers figured him out and he began to decline hitting wise and his strikeout rate climbed.

Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

If Jones and Saunders are to have good 2015 seasons, Saunders needs to remain healthy and Jones needs to learn how to hit a breaking ball and learn plate discipline. That phrase “plate discipline” was perhaps the biggest deal with catcher Mike Zunino. Mike Z broke the Mariners record for home runs by a catcher but finished his season with 158 strikeouts and only 17 walks! Mike Z could be a breakout star for the M’s next season but he needs to learn how to make decent contact. Forty four of Mike Z’s 87 hits were extra base hits so there’s a positive.

Robinson Cano at second base…….sorry that’s all I have for that position since for the next 9 years, we’ll be watching Cano produce like he did this year. After signing a 10-year $240 million dollar contract Cano produced a .317 batting average, 14 home runs, 82 RBI’s, 187 hits, 37 doubles, .382 OBP, 61 walks, and an All Star season.

Seriously I’m excited to see what he does next season! Seager was the same way. First All Star season for the young third basemen, Seager finished leading the club in both home runs and RBI’s he’s also in line for his first Gold Glove of his career. All that’s left to do is sign Seager to a multi-year deal that will keep him in Seattle for years to come.

Now, lets talk pitching for the Mariners shall we? What can you say about this pitching staff for the Mariners in 2014? The Mariners bullpen and starters finished the season with a 3.17 ERA which was 2nd in the majors! Felix Hernandez is in line for his 2nd Cy Young award, went to his 5th All Star Game, and set career highs in ERA and strikeouts.

Mariners need to make a move and re-sign the possible 2014 Comeback Player of the Year winner Chris Young and they also need to re-sign perhaps their best bullpen reliever not named Fernando Rodney, Joe Beimel.

Beimel had a rejuvenated year in Seattle after not pitching for three years. He appeared in 56 games with Seattle with a 2.20 ERA and a 3-1 record and in his first appearance of the season didn’t even throw a single pitch, he picked off a runner to end the inning. Carson Smith though has not just the fans eyes but perhaps the Mariners eyes as being their possible set up guy for Rodney and after Rodney’s contract expires, be their closer.

Smith was one of the many September call ups and all he did in the 9 games he appeared in was just throw nasty stuff. He didn’t give up a run in his 8.1 innings of work, struck out 10 batters, and won his first major league game of his career. Dominic Leone was also another surprise the Mariners had in their bullpen. After Hector Noesi gave up a walk off home run to the A’s in just the 6th game of the year, the Mariners were fed up with him and gave Leone the call up. Leone posted great numbers as a rookie appearing 57 games with a 2.17 ERA and had an impressive 8-2 record.

Just imagine our bullpen next year and our rotation! Felix, Hisashi Iwakuma, James Paxton, Taijuan Walker, and Young or Roenis Elias! No wonder no teams said they wanted to face the Mariners in the postseason!

The Mariners have perhaps the best chances in 2015 to make a statement for the AL West title but in order for them to do so, they will need to sign 2-3 more decent consistent bats to help Cano and Seager in the lineup. Pitching wise……nothing needs to change except Yoervis Medina needs to go.

A couple more bats and a better swinging Austin Jackson and you have the 2015 World Champion Seattle Mariners! Yes I know I’m getting too ahead of myself but I truly believe that the Mariners could make a good push in the postseason next year to become world champs.