Today is the day all baseball fans look forward to: pitchers and catchers are reporting to camp. It is also Valentine’s Day, but we know you love your team as much as your significant other. In the coming days until Opening Day in Houston, what should we expect from the Mariners?
Today is the day that spring training officially begins. Spring training 2017 for the Mariners is one of the most anticipated camps in recent history.
These M’s are going to be under their fans’ microscopes during the next month or so and will be also be watched closely by everyone around the league.
But, spring training 2017 is also a little different from years past because, at the same time as camp is going on, there will be the WBC. The World Baseball Classic will run from March 6th in Seoul, South Korea ending by March 22nd at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.
To read about which Mariners will and will not be participating in the tournament, check out the post from of my fellow Sodo Mojo contributor, Alex Sommerfield.
What To Expect From The Spring
According to manager Scott Servais, the slogan of the team has changed from 2016. “In 2016 our motto was ‘Are you ready?’ For 2017, our motto is ‘Whatever it takes.”
Those are encouraging words for fans whose team is currently not enjoying the longest playoff drought in the MLB.
In order to do whatever it takes to win the Mariners will need to figure a few things out.
First, the M’s are going to be trying out some guys who are slated to have pivotal roles in the lineup. Players like Ben Gamel, Mike Zunino, and Dan Vogelbach will have to show up big this spring if they hope to have a crucial role in this major league attempt to end that lousy playoff-less streak.
Next, figuring out the starting rotation will be a key thing to watch. The Mariners have seven potential starters on the roster. Unsurprisingly, the top four spots in the rotation are locked down, but that final slot could go to the man who fights the hardest and plays the best.
Chris Heston, Yovani Gallardo, and Ariel Miranda will presumably all be competing for that 5th spot. However, the two pitchers who don’t make the Opening Day rotation will be in the bullpen if and when they are needed to start.
Finally, the health of the team will be a key priority. The 2016 Mariners were decimated with injuries, so players will be closely monitored during Spring.
In the 2017 WBC, many of the star Mariners players will be representing their home countries. For some M’s fans, this is nerve-wracking. By participating in this tournament, players basically extend their regular seasons from 7 to 8 months.
Everyone knows that Felix Hernandez is vital to the team’s potential title run. Whenever he pitches for his home country of Venezuela, every Mariners fan will be holding their breath.
Although our other stars have stayed relatively healthy, the M’s cannot afford an injury if they hope to make a title run in 2017. But beyond this, the World Baseball Classic is a fun and competitive event.
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After all, what could make a baseball fan happier than having more baseball games to watch?
The WBC could possibly be an indication of how some players seasons are projected to go, although that is not always the case.
Spring training is always a promising time for every MLB team. As the saying goes,” Everyone in spring training has a chance for 1st place.” Realistically, this is not true for many clubs, but for the first time in a while, this is very true for the Mariners.
During the spring, fans should pay attention to the young prospects who will make an MLB impact. Also, pay attention to the health of our stars and the chemistry of the squad.
But most importantly, enjoy watching baseball and listening to the voices of summer. I finally get to say one of my favorite phrases: Baseball is back