Spring Training is so close I can taste it. Whenever we get inside that one month mark, I start to get excited. It's the next step in getting closer to the season, and is just one of the many marks I look forward to as it approaches. MLB The Show will release their cover athlete soon (although it sounds like Julio may be DQ for being on some EA Sports Tap Mobile game), and pitchers and catchers will report in just a few weeks.
Shoot, I started writing this on the 24th, and the first Spring Training game is only a month away from today. It got me thinking about all the new Mariners on the team as well as the pressure that this team is going to be under heading into 2024. After breaking the insane playoff drought in 2022 and giving the Astros arguably their toughest series of the postseason, the Mariners looked prime for a long run of playoff berths.
They narrowly missed out in 2023, as their additions just didn't do enough to make an impact. With plenty of new faces in 2024 and a potential for 4 new starters in the lineup (Garver, Haniger, Raley, Urias), there is a lot of risk/reward and pressure for 2024. Can the Mariners get back into the playoffs, or will some of these new players fold under the pressure and lead to a similar outcome from 2023?
It's going to be a mix of new and old, as we look at five Mariners that could determine the success or failure of the 2024 team. Let's jump into it with a new look at an old friend.