We've made it to February, and Spring Training is almost here. It's got me thinking about the upcoming season, and trying to get a grasp on all the changes that have happened to the Mariners over the offseason. There have been a lot of them, and although the rotation looks the exact same, the bullpen and the starting lineup are going to be vastly different.
The bullpen worries me a bit, as it does seem like there is a strong feeling by fans that "they'll figure it out and find a diamond in the rough, they always do". It's a fair way to feel after seeing some of the success that the team has had with the likes of Topa, Swanson, Speier, and Steckenrider. They pick up guys that have seen limited success other places, insert them in, and they do well. Maybe they'll do it again in 2024.
It helps having Munoz+Brash at the head of the pen, as it's not much pressure on the rest of the guys. It also got me thinking about expectations for 2024, and the possibilities that could happen with the current Mariners team.
Are they better than last year? Are they better than they were in 2022? I think they are, and that they have a good chance to finish with not just a better record than they have over the last few seasons, but to make the playoffs and push for the AL West Title. Let's check out some of the reasons why.