Seattle Mariners Spring Training: Previewing The Infield


It’s that time of year again. The weather is beautiful…in Arizona.

As pitchers and catchers get set to report and position players will shortly follow, we begin SodoMojo’s Spring Training preview with a look at the Mariners infield and what it may look like leaving Peoria.

Third base is a position that is quite locked up. Kyle Seager, thankfully, signed an extension in the off-season that will keep him anchoring the hot corner for the M’s.

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Seager is the type of player that I love seeing the M’s lock in long-term. He’s a hard working ball player that never settles.

I do not believe that Seager will drop off from his 25 homer 96 RBI season he had in 2014, and you can bank another gold glove as well.

Second base is another position that doesn’t need much breaking down other than two words Robinson Cano.

As Cano’s age goes up many felt his games played would down. He played 157 games in 2014 and I expect the same number in 2015. We did see the home run numbers dip a bit, as was expected when coming into Safeco as opposed to the band box that is Yankee Stadium.

In fact, 2014 was the first season Cano failed to reach the 20 homer mark since 2008. I expect we will see 15-20 homers from Cano in 2015 as he should see more quality pitches to hit with the addition of Nelson Cruz hitting behind him.

The recent signing of Rickie Weeks is…interesting. I see Weeks spelling Cano a few games at 2nd base when Cano is given the rare day off.

Now to the interesting positions, Short Stop and First Base.

Gone are the days of experimenting with Justin Smoak, whoohoo!

Looking at first base and the 40-man roster we have Logan Morrison, Ji-Man Choi and Ice Cream Sandwich..I mean Jesus Montero. We also have D.J. Peterson to look forward to in the future, he’s a guy I think we see at 1B eventually, if not 2015 than 2016.

Logan Morrison was a guy who came on late in 2014 but when he did, we managed to lock down 1B.

Sep 25, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Seattle Mariners left fielder Logan Morrison (20) reaches to celebrate with designated hitter Robinson Cano (22), catcher

Mike Zunino

(3) and a leaping Kyle Seager (15) after beating Toronto Blue Jays 7-5 at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

LoMo has been rattled by injuries in his career, including 2014, but when he came back healthy and played first everyday he really settled in.

We started to see his average, power numbers, doubles, and run production go once he finally got comfortable.

In 99 games Morrison hit .262 with 11 homers and 20 doubles. Seeing little to no reps in the outfield in Spring Training, perhaps, will help keep him healthy.

Ji-Man Choi is a player who has shown some power flashes in the minor leagues for the M’s. In 2013 between A+, AA and AAA ball, Choi hit 7 homers in High Desert (A+), 9 homers in Jackson (AA), and 2 more (in 13 games) for AAA Tacoma.

Choi played in just 70 games with Tacoma in 2014 and hit .283 with 5 homers and 30 RBI.

Montero has been a debacle since coming over from New York. From poor performances at the big league level, to coming into spring training having looked like he did nothing but eat ice cream sandwiches all winter, to going from eating ice cream to throwing them at people.

I always thought Montero had great potential and would eventually make his way back to the big leagues, obviously not as a catcher.

Perhaps a DH or first basemen. Well, he’s not going to DH anymore.

First base is really is last hope if he’s going to play in a Mariner uniform. Rumor has it he’s trimmed down this off-season and will come into spring training in better shape. We will see. I think he may make a good trade piece for the M’s if needed.

I see LoMo coming out of this without a scratch and will man first base for the M’s in 2015. Staying healthy is the key, if he can, we will see solid productions from him.

A very intriguing position to watch in spring training will be short stop.

In 2014 we saw the Mariners platoon both Brad Miller and Chris Taylor at this position. Taylor against left-handed pitching and Miller against right-handed.

This is going to be a fun battle to watch unfold. It really isn’t complicated, the player who wins spring training wins the job.

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My gut tells me it will probably be Brad Miller. Miller has an ability to get to balls defensively that many other short stop may not but the occasional problem is his arm. He doesn’t know where it’s going.

We’ve seen power flashes from Miller that are promising as well.

Chris Taylor is your more traditional style short stop in that he’s not going to make the “flashy” play that Miller might make. Taylor is going to get to balls and make the plays he’s needed to make.

I’d take Taylor of Miller on the defensive side, but a slight edge to Miller on the offensive side due to his power.

This one is going to be a dog-fight, but I don’t the M’s can lose either way.

All of that being said, if the winner out of Peoria doesn’t perform, expect to see a quick change.

Finally the catcher position.

Zunino certainly has this position locked in. I think he will see a rise in Zunino’s batting average in 2015, but don’t expect .300. He is not going to be that guy but we cannot have sub .200 from him. I will take .240-.250 from Zunino.

Zunino has unbelievable power and we saw that in 2014 with 22 homers. Defensively they do not come much better and more professional that Zunino.

Not much really to discuss at the catcher spot, in my opinion,  we will probably see Jesus Sucre back up Zunino.






Bench- Willie Bloomquist, Sucre, Weeks

Should be fun to watch come into shape this spring. Go M’s