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2006 Seattle Mariners Baseball Preview

Seattle Mariners Predictions – AL WEST

OVERVIEW:

Remember when the Mariners won more games in one year than some teams win in two? It seems like ages have passed since this club was competitive, but the fact is the bottom fell out only two seasons ago. Can the Mariners climb back up to the top?

PITCHING:

The club has two new pitchers in their rotation. Los Angeles free agent Jarrod Washburn (8-8, 3.20 ERA) is supposed to deliver the goods, while 19 year-old Felix Hernandez, who came up mid-season from AAA Tacoma going 4-4 in 12 MLB starts with a 2.67 ERA and 77 K’s in 84.1 innings, looks like the real thing.

The Mariners need to have their staff resurrected from mediocrity, and they’re hoping these two can do it.

The team’s best pitcher from last season, Jamie Moyer (13-2, 4.28) is back and should be able to use his touch to compensate for a loss of velocity.

Eddie Guardadao saved 36 games last season, many times on chutzpah and grit rather than dazzling stuff. With the wear and tear he’s been through, there’s a question as to whether he can last an entire season.

HITTING:

Exemplary leadoff man Ichiro Suzuki notched his fifth straight season with 200 hits, a .300 BA, and 30 stolen bases. The trouble is lately he’s been the offense—more players need to contribute.

Non-dinosaur believer and designated hitter Carl Everett (23 HR, 87 RBI), fresh from a world championship, brings homerun clout and aggressiveness to the plate.

From Japan, Seattle signed catcher Kenji Johjima, who hit 24 homers while averaging .309. If he can do the same for the Mariners that would be a big help.

Along with having the worst team batting average (.256) and OBP (.317) in the league, Seattle finished 13th in homerun production.

Ichiro is amazing but he cannot do it all.

DEFENSE:

Ichiro has won 5 Gold Gloves in 5 years playing right field—holy cow! He’s the anchor on a team that is one of the top fielding clubs in the AL (.986). Jeremy Reed, in center, is also a fantastic but sometimes underrated defensive force.

At short, Yuniesky Betancourt offers exceptional skill, range and accuracy. He played 60 games last season after stints in A and AAA ball. The entire Seattle infield is athletic and expert at handling making plays.

MANAGER AND FRONT OFFICE:

• Bill Bavasi, GM, is in his third year and needs to start showing results.
• Veteran manager Mike Hargrove enters his second season with the Mariners after coaching the team to 6 more wins than they had in 2004.
• Effects of former GM Pat Gillick’s bad contracts are just about gone.

INTANGIBLES AND/OR OTHER STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES:

• Kenji Johjima should be a big asset as the backstop but will language barrier be a problem?
• Andrian Beltre did terrible his first year in the AL (.255 BA, 19 HR). Big money should equal big stats.
• Felix Hernandez must be carefully brought along and allowed to develop. Rushing him could destroy what’s there.

CONCLUSION:

The Mariners are looking for more improvement this season. They certainly have the potential for success, but there are questions regarding key players. Hargrove has a tough course to navigate, but he should be up to the challenge.

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For more information on the 2006 Seattle Mariners visit their official MLB website by clicking here.

 

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