2008 Seattle Mariners Baseball Preview
For the Seattle Mariners (88- 74), every baseball season must seem a bit like Groundhog Day as the club continuously finishes second to the Angels and short of the Wild Card spot. What the Mariners lack most is pitching. And although GM Bill Bavasi brought in a little more fire power by adding starter Carlos Silva that may not be enough to turn this team around.
The rotation is good and the bullpen is better than most. RHP Felix Hernandez (14- 7, 3.92 ERA, 165 SO) has tough stuff and a range of effective pitches, including a 94- 97 mph fastball. Second starter Miguel Batista (16- 11, 4.29, 133 SO) offers a fastball in the low-nineties, curveball, slider and splitter mixed with veteran wile. New man Carlos Silva (13- 14, 4.19 ERA, 89 SO) will give innings, but he must be accurate in order to be effective. In two seasons of his four-year $37 million deal, lefty Jarrod Washburn (10- 15, 4.32 ERA, 114 SO) has underperformed. The topnotch bullpen is anchored by closer and team leader J.J. Putz (0- 1, 1.39 ERA, 40 SV, .153 BAA).
Mariner hitters have sound averages but need to manufacture more runs. CF Ichiro Suzuki (.351 BA, 8 HR, 68 RBI) has a quick bat and is fast out of the box. He steals at least 30 bases per season. DH/IF Jose Vidro (.314 BA, 6 HR, 59 RBI) is a thoroughly solid hitter with refined base running chops, while LF Raul Ibanez (.291 BA, 21 HR, 105 RBI) possesses power and consistency. 3B Adrian Beltre (.276 BA, 26 HR, 99 RBI) is a homer and double machine.
The Mariners offer a good squad of fielders. The team tied for third in fielding percentage and for fourth in double plays. Ichiro is simply the best outfielder around. Beltre is a tough cookie at third base.
Manager John McLaren, who took over mid-year after Hargrove’s strange resignation, has brought in a new group of veteran coaches—Mel Stottlemyre, Jim Riggleman and Sam Perlozzo. Bavasi has worked to cultivate the farm team and is still looking to upgrade the pitching staff. If he’s to keep his job, he has to get this club to the playoffs soon.
For more info on Seattle check out the MLB website for the Mariners Clubhouse.