With the Seattle Mariners, the phrase ‘wait till next year’ begins before schools let out for the summer. By July, Seattle sports fans turn their attention to the Seahawks-if they have not already done so. Then of course there are those green scarfed Sounders creatures. But for Mariner fans let us look to 2013.
Kyle Seager surprised with his power-18 homers-with 9 games to go-and has driven in 81 runs. His .258 average should improve next season, provided of course, he can adjust to how pitchers will pitch him next year.
His North Carolina teammate Dustin Ackley had a down season, but it is too early to write him off. 2013 should tell a lot about his future.
They will be in the infield, but Brendan Ryan and Justin Smoak could be walking the plank of the good ship Mariner. Ryan is a great fielder, but has no bat. Mariners need offense. Short of a trade or free agent signing, Nick Franklin or Carlos Triunfel will be in the mix.
To borrow from Deep Purple, Smoak on the water; please let him walk the plank. He may be 25, but has shown nothing. He is beloved by Trader Jack though and that scares me. He can swim to a deserted island and play Robinson Crusoe with Chone Figgins.
In the outfield, Franklin Gutierrez-if healthy-can be a force both defensively and offensively. Michael Saunders continues to improve and has power. I am thinking Casper Wells will be gone and the other fly chasers, Eric Thames, Trayvon Robinson, Carlos Peguero, and Mike Carp (also plays 1b) are up in the air. I look for a free agent signing or trade to fill an outfield spot.
Jesus Montero and John Jaso will return as catcher-dh. Jaso had key hits and rbis. Miquel Olivo is unlikely to return. It is tempting to say Mike Zunino will compete, but he is unlikely to be brought up until June, provided he continues to hammer minor league pitching. He may start the season in Tacoma, but if doesn’t, he will get their quickly.
Thursday a look at pitching.