Mariners Spring Awakening: The Doldrums Are Over!


In just a little over two weeks, on Friday, February 20th—PITCHERS AND CATCHERS REPORT! After that little football get together that happened last weekend, I’ve been seeing a little more trickle of baseball talk, around the metaphorical water cooler, as well as on social media.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m one sport guy. I mean, I’m happy to throw some support for fellow PNW sports teams when they deserve it—like with that little pickup football game I mentioned, last weekend.

Mostly however, a small part of my soul dies a little bit when the lights are turned off in October…and it only starts to come back when I hear those four magic words.

I mentioned this last month when I was discussing the “DOLDRUMS OF JANUARY” but this month is a whole new game. Sure, it’s still about a month until spring training really hits full speed, but that doesn’t matter. We waited patiently through the rest of October, November, December, January, and here we are.

Pretty soon we can listen to Rick Rizzs calling the games on the radio, down in sunny Peoria. This is helping me get through the college and work grind, let me tell you.

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Well, since detailing my spring soul reawakening is probably not what you came here for, I’ll give you a few actual reasons why I’m excited. Well, I’m always excited every year anyway, whether coming off 87 wins, or 100 losses. So these are reasons why you should be excited, in case you’re not.

The 3-4-5. Steamer has Robbie for 18 HR’s and 82 RBI’s, Cruz for 26 HR’s and 79 RBI’s, and Mr. Seager for 21 HR’s and 75 RBI’s. Now sure, we had a decent 3-4 last year, with better numbers from Seager, but now we had a legitimate 3-4-5 threat.

Even more protection for Cano is a great thing. Steamer is pretty much projecting the same season as last year for Austin Jackson, .256 BA, low power and RBI’s. It does project a slight increase for OBP however, up to .322 from .308. If Jackson could things back up to the .377 OBP he had with the Tigers in 2012—well then we might see an RBI increase for the 3-4-5.

The 1-2-3. Okay, so this one’s a little more iffy. We’ve got Felix. Okay. Steamer projects his innings to go way down, from 236, to 192, while his ERA rises from 2.14 to 2.94. Which is probably fair, because except for the 2010 season, and last season, Felix usually is in the 3. range for his ERA.

Kuma gets pretty much the same season as last year, a slight increase in innings, from 179 to 192, while the ERA rise 0.01 from 3.52, to 3.53. The fans generally (me being a fan), love Iwakuma but after mid-season things seem to slowly can downhill, until the wheels fall off in September. But, we’re going with excitement and projections, and those numbers are very solid.

James Paxton, who was brilliant in the short glimpse we got of him last season, gets a Steamer projection of a 4.10 ERA, to go with 173 innings of work. If that actually happens, then I don’t want to hear ANY complaints.

J.A. Happ is the other likely sure starter, and he plugs 163 innings, along with a similar, 4.01 ERA. Similar numbers to last year, at 158 innings, and 4.22 ERA.

So things are still a little iffy, but c’mon, the Royals made it to game 7 of the World Series last year! Royals making the postseason sure maybe but the fall classic? That seemed like a pipe dream. So we still have question marks, but we have a solid core. And if 1-2-3 leaves you feeling a little squirmy then don’t forget reason number three…

The ‘Pen. Most of the same cast as last year, although admittedly I would like Joe Beimel to be brought back. Do the Mariners know something I don’t? HOPEFULLY.

Let’s all take a moment to remember that Beimel had a third of inning worked last year—without throwing a pitch. If you missed it let’s just say he has a sweet pick off move. Anyhow, most of the rest of the cast is here, and no reason to think much will change this year. And for once, that’s a good thing.

The Doldrums are over, kids. Be excited.