5 questions facing the Mariners less than a month to Spring Training

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: Dee Gordon #9 of the Seattle Mariners walks off the field against the Pittsburgh Pirates during inter-league play at PNC Park on September 17, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: Dee Gordon #9 of the Seattle Mariners walks off the field against the Pittsburgh Pirates during inter-league play at PNC Park on September 17, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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3. Are the young kids ready?

SURPRISE, AZ – NOVEMBER 03: AFL West All-Star, Evan White #15 of the Seattle Mariners bats during the Arizona Fall League All Star Game at Surprise Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
SURPRISE, AZ – NOVEMBER 03: AFL West All-Star, Evan White #15 of the Seattle Mariners bats during the Arizona Fall League All Star Game at Surprise Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The Seattle Mariners are going to play a lot of younger guys in 2020. And while that can be a lot of fun and be a jolt of energy in an otherwise bad season, it does lead to some questions. Evan White appears to be the heavy favorite to be the Opening Day first baseman after signing his 6-year deal this winter.

But White only has 4 games under his belt above the AA-level, and all 4 games came in 2018 as an emergency situation. White had a nice year in AA Arkansas and the power appears to have arrived but making the jump for AA to the big leagues is a lot to ask.

Steamer projects a .253/.310/.424 slash line with 19 home runs as a rookie. Not bad and if accurate would be a pretty nice rookie season. But if he can’t produce, will Seattle be willing to send him down?

And what about Kyle Lewis, the projected LF? Sure, he got a cup of coffee in September and hit 6 home runs with a .592 slugging percentage. But he struggled to make contact, striking out 38.7% of his PAs and didn’t walk, posting a .293 OBP.

Lewis may be really good, but there is a strong chance he needs a month or more in the minors to polish his game more.

Aside from those 2, there are a number of other questions that we need to find answers too. Is Shed Long Jr. for real? Can he play second every day? Are Jake Fraley and Braden Bishop bench options or everyday players? Can J.P. Crawford take another step? Who is the real Mallex Smith? Is Yusei Kikuchi just that bad? Can Justus Sheffield survive a full season in the rotation?

And the questions just keep going. Seattle’s decision to rebuild was the right one. But the amount of unnecessary pressure they are choosing to place on their young core is a risk. Very few answers will come in Spring Training, but until we see some results, this will remain a major question.

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