All things being equal, the Seattle Mariners will win 88 games, but all things are not equal. I am not backing down from my prediction, but there is always a chance King Felix will have a season ending injury, or that a meteor will crash into Safeco Field, or that Brendan Ryan will make 88 errors. Short of calamity Seattle hits the magic 88.
Okay there is nothing magic about 88, but one big reason they will improve is that the Houston Astros will be in the division. They are a bad; go ahead name one player on the Astros. If you compare their team payroll with the other 29 teams, they are an indigent at an exit sign asking for money. God Bless.
The 2012 Mariners could have won 10 to 12 games against Houston. This year the Mariners have added two power hitters in Kendrys Morales and Michael Morse, and the fences at Safeco have been moved in giving a nice power alley to right-handed hitters. Morales, like Smoak is a switch hitter, so pray for lots of visiting team left-handed pitching. In fact, pray extra for Smoak. He needs all the help he can get.
The Mariners roster has flexibility and depth, a great bullpen with hard throwing young arms, and a starting rotation, equal to, if not better, than 2012.
The downside is that the Angels will win 100 or more games, with Texas and Oakland not far behind. Because of the Astros of course. So, even with 88 games the Mariners would get 4th place. The Seahawks had Sodo Mojo working this past season, so maybe some of that mojo will rub off on the Mariners. If the mojo karma is still in the air hovering over Safeco like seagulls in the 7th inning, then the good ship Mariner could move up in the standings.
But if a passing Astro-oid takes aim at the left field power alley at the Safe, then the 88 win will be 86’st.