2007 Seattle Mariners Baseball Preview
For three consecutive years the Seattle Mariners (78- 84) have been cellar dwellers in the AL West. But Seattle’s problems of the past—an inability to score runs, weak starting pitching and a lopsided record against the A’s (2- 17)— are their problems once again.
Starter RHP Felix Hernandez (12- 14, 4.52 ERA) must have a breakout year for this team to succeed. LHP Jarrod Washburn (8- 14, 4.67 ERA) needs to simply reach his potential. Miguel Batista (11- 8, 4.58 ERA) has been added from Arizona and will create stability. The fourth and fifth positions are weak. It’s a very effective bullpen with good set-up men and J.J. Putz (4- 1, 2.30 ERA, 36 SV) in the closer role.
Seattle’s new DH, Jose Vidro (.289 AVG, 47 RBI, 7 HR), has spent the past two seasons hurt off and on. Right fielder Ichiro (.322 AVG, 49 RBI, 9 HR, 45 SB) is perhaps the best leadoff hitter in the majors. SS Yuniesky Betancourt (.289 AVG, 47 RBI, 8 HR) is a fine ninth man at the plate, while catcher Kenji Johjima (.291 AVG, 76 RBI, 18 HR) and left fielder Raul Ibanez (.289 AVG, 123 RBI, 33 HR) are power performers.
On defense last season rookie backstop Johjima was sound and should be even better this season. Ichiro is a perennial Gold Glover in right, while the middle infield boasts one of the best young DP combos in the game with SS Betancourt and second baseman Jose Lopez. Overall, Seattle’s “D” is effective.
Manager Mike Hargrove has finished fourth in reach of his seasons at Seattle, repeating his performance as Baltimore’s skipper. It’s certainly a far cry from when he guided the Indians to five consecutive division titles and two World Series appearances. He needs to produce a winner in this his third season to come back for a fourth.
Starting pitching will continue to plague this team. It’s hard to imagine them doing any better than fourth-place, especially with the other three clubs in the West showing improvement.
For more info on Seattle check out the MLB website for the Mariners Clubhouse.