Yesterday we took a look at the Pittsburgh Pirates, now it is time to look at Seattle.
The Mariners were predicted by most people to win the American League West this season, because of their off-season additions. They added Cliff Lee in the trade with the Phillies, signed Chone Figgins, and acquired Brandon League for Brandon Morrow. They were projected to be one of the best defensive and pitching teams in the league.
…..That was not really the case. The Mariners finished 10th in the American League in fielding, only Boston, Kansas City, Cleveland and Anaheim behind them. Figgins had 19 errors, primarily at second base. Josh Wilson had 20, playing shortstop and third base. Jose Lopez made 18 at third base. So that must be the primary concern for the Mariners, right?
No. Have you seen their hitting stats? They finished worst in the American League in runs scored and batting average. And can you see why? Their cleanup hitter, Lopez, hit .239 with three home runs! Their first baseman, Casey Kotchman, hit .217 with nine home runs. Other than Ichiro Suzuki, who hit .315, their highest batting average was .259, by Figgins.
The Mariners will probably look at a first baseman next season. They have Justin Smoak, but he hit only .213 on the season, in both Texas and Seattle. They have Russel Branyan, but despite the twenty five home runs, he hit only .237. And do not be surprised to see Kotchman be non-tendered.
The rest of the infield does not look so pretty. They still have Figgins locked up another four years, and they are stuck with Jose Lopez and Josh Wilson. There is not too much infield depth after that, with Chris Woodward, Matt Tuiasosopoo, and Mark Mangini. I gave you the stats on Lopez, Figgins, and Wilson. The other three? Woodward hit.158, Tuiasosopoo .173, and Mangini .211. So that infield is not looking sharp heading into 2011. They might pick up a guy like Mark Ellis or Bill Hall to backup the infield and solidify some depth.
Now the outfield, which has some promise. Of course you have Ichiro, but what else? The Mariners are very high on left fielder Micheal Saunders. Saunders hit only .211 when he was up this year, with ten home runs. But it was his first year, and he is a top prospect of Seattle. He was ranked as their third prospect going into the season.
Their center fielder, Franklin Gutierrez, is an interesting case in himself. Gutierrez was acquired from Cleveland before the 2009 season. He did not hit for a high average in Cleveland, but he looked like a promising young player. When he was traded to Seattle, he had a career year, hitting .283 with 18 home runs and 16 stolen bases. Seattle had thought they had something in Gutierrez. This season, he hit .245 with 12 home runs. At age 27, in his fifth year, it’s time to say he is what he is.
The Mariners had yet another problem this season, and that is pitching. Many people,myself included, were calling Seattle the best pitching staff in the league because they had Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee. Hernandez had a terrific year, putting up Cy Young numbers with a 2.27 ERA to lead the American League. His WHIP is 1.06. Cliff Lee had himself a good season too…. Just not all in Seattle.
When Seattle knew they had no shot in mid July, they traded Lee to the New York Yankees. The deal was done all but the paperwork, and Seattle was getting Jesus Montero, one of the best prospects in the game. But Texas jumped in at the last second, and offered Justin Smoak, their top prospect. Seattle ripped up their deal with New York, and sent Lee off to Texas, who won their division.
The rest of their rotation served a problem. Ryan Rowland-Smith, who they considered a promising young player, put up an ERA of 6.35 in 27 games. He will most certainly be non-tendered. Luke French, who Seattle acquired from Detroit for Jarrod Washburn, posted a 4.83 ERA. Jason Vargas, who was acquired from the Mets, had a decent year, with a respectable ERA of 3.83. His career best before that was 4.03 with Florida in 2005. Doug Fister’s ERA soared to 4.11, after leading the American League in ERA for around three months. The last pitcher on the Mariner’s staff was David Pauly, with a 4.07. So that pitching and defense thing? Yeah… That didn’t really work.
The bullpen was not much better. David Aardsma, who was Seattle’s closer last season, five blown saves and an ERA of 3.44. Brandon League had a good year, with an ERA of 3.42 13 holds. He did, however, have six blown saves. Garret Olson, who was acquired from Baltimore, had an Earned Run Average of 4.54 with a WHIP of 1.51. Sean White had an ERA north of five. Two young pitchers who had okay years in the M’s pen were Jamey Wright and Brian Sweeny.
So, what do the Mariners have to fix? Not much, just the bullpen, rotation, hitting and defense. That’s all. Some players Seattle may target in the offseason, trade or free agency, are Daisuke Matsuzaka, Juan Uribie, or Cody Ross
I made my before-Spring Training predictions, here are my Opening Day Season predictions. Plus, check out the player to watch feature which gives you a player to watch on each team during the reaguler season.
AL East Player to watch:
Boston Red Sox (Jacoby Ellsbury)
New York Yankees (Marcus Thames)
Tampa Bay Rays (Ben Zobrist)
Baltimore Orioles (Nolan Reimold)
Toronto Blue Jays (Adam Lind)
Minnesota Twins (Orlando Hudson)
Chicago White Sox (Jake Peavy)
Kansas City Royals (Rick Ankeil)
Detroit Tigers (Austin Jackson)
Cleveland Indians (Micheal Brantly)
Seattle Mariners (Chone Figgins)
Anaheim Angels (Kendry Morales)
Texas Rangers (Neftali Feliz)
Oakland Athletics (Brett Anderson)
Philadelphia Phillies (Jayson Werth)
Atlanta Braves (Jason Heyward)
Florida Marlins (Mike Stanton)
Washington Nationals (Nyjer Morgan)
New York Mets (Kiko Calero)
St.Louis Cardinals (Colby Rasmus)
Chicago Cubs (Randy Wells)
Cincinatti Reds (Aroldis Chapman)
Milwakee Brewers (Alcades Escobar)
Houston Astros (Hunter Pence)
Pittsburgh Pirates (Garrett Jones)
Colorado Rockies (Jason Hammel)
Los Angeles Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw)
San Fransisco Giants (Madison Bumgarner)
Arizona D-backs (Justin Upton)
San Diego Padres (Clayton Richard)
1. Evan Longoria
2. Joe Mauer
3. Kendry Morales
1. Albert Pujols
2. Chase Utley
3. Ryan Braun
AL Cy Young
1. Jon Lester
2. Cliff Lee
3. Zack Greinke
NL Cy Young
1. Roy Halladay
2. Chris Carpenter
3. Tim Lincecum
1. Brain Matusz
2. Austin Jackson
3. Desmond Jennings
1. Jason Heyward
2. Mike Stanton
3. Madison Bumgarner
1. Don Wakamtsu
2. Ron Gardenhire
3. Joe Maddon
1. Bobby Cox
2. Tony LaRusa
3. Freddi Gonzalez
AL Comeback Player
NL Comeback Player
Those are my predicitions. My Internationl League predictions will be sometime next week.
New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays
Chicago White Sox
Kansas City Royals
New York Mets
San Fransisco Giants
San Diego Padres
AL MVP Top 3:
Evan Longoria- Rays
Joe Mauer- Twins
Kendry Morales- Angels
Red Sox MVP:
AL Cy Young Top 3:
Jon Lester- Red Sox
Zack Greinke- Royals
Cliff Lee- Mariners
Red Sox Cy Young:
NL MVP Top 3:
Albert Pujols- Cardinals
Jayson Werth- Phillies
Ryan Braun- Brwers
NL CY Youn Top 3:
Josh Johnson- Marlins
Tim Lincecum- Giants
Carlos Zambrano- Cubs
Desmond Jennings- Rays
Jason Heyward- Braves
The Baltimore Orioles will compete with the Rays for the #3 spot in the AL East
The Royals will have a record around .500
Mike Cameron will hit 25 HRs
The Reds will finish over .500
The Blue Jays will have the second worst record in baseball, ahead of only the Mets
I will be right about at least one thing here(I told you, bold predictions)
This is a full evaluation of the 2010 Red Sox roster as it stands now. I will look at the lineup, defense, pitching, bench, bullpen, and minor leagues, and try to prove to you complainers that this is a good team.
Lineup: I really like the lineup. I’m not trying to be an optimist, I really like the lineup. I love the combination of speed and power. The bottom of the lineup impresses me with Drew-Cameron-Scutaro. I feel speed is going to come from Jacoby Ellsbury (duh) and Scutaro. Cameron can steal a few as can Pedroia. Don’t even say Drew, I believe he was 2-for-8 in the SB catagory.
On the power side, you got Ortiz, Youk, Beltre, Cameron, Drew, and Victor. Each one of them will hit from 15-30 HRs, maybe more for Beltre or Cameron at Fenway. I feel a big year coming from Youk, I really do.He was hurt a lot of last year, and I think it really affected him. The suspension did not help either.
I also liked the way the lineup is built. I thought last year Pedroia struggled leadoff beacuse he missed the presence of Jacoby Ellsbury. Since he is a base stealer, pitchers are going to throw more fastballs to the next batter in an attempt to pick him off. A fastball gets to the plate fatser, and the catcher can gun it down to second faster. I hope Francona keeps Ellsbury in the lead-off spot, that is where he is supposed to be.
More about the lineup, I would like to see JD Drew bat eighth and Cameron bat seventh. Mostly beacuse it strenghens the bottom of the lineup. Here is the lineup I would like to see:
Pitching: No one can deny this staff. Even if I am wrong and the lineup does suck, the pitching will keep you in games. Defense wins(Look how far the Jets got!). Offense is nice, but defense and pitching is more important(Unless you have Teixeira. And A-rod. And Jeter. And Granderson…..). This is no doubt about it the best staff in the game. You can say Seattle with Cliff Lee and King Felix, and I’ll give you that as the top 1-2 punch in baseball. But Lester. Beckett. Lackey. Dice-k. Buchholz. Wake. They have so much depth! I know this happened last year, and everyone got hurt to the point we needed Paul Byrd, and at least two or three of those guys are going to have to stay healthy. Ok, Lackey, out a month. Fine, Lester and Beckett. Lester out a few weeks? That’s ok, Dice-k/Wake/Buchholz might be pitching good, and Lackey might be back soon. Just theories here.
And either way, I expect some sort of reclamation/Theo Epstein projects like an Erik Bedard or Ben Sheets coming.(John Smoltz!)
Every game we are going to get a six-to-seven inning perfomrance or a quality start. Yes, Lackey has had injury problems. So has Beckett, and Dice-k, and every other pitcher in baseball. You learn to deal with it.
Defense: Joe Maddon called Adrain Beltre the best defensive player he has ever seen, and Maddon knows a damn lot about baseball. He took that team to the world series, and I think we all know who that team is. I don’t get to watch Beltre often, as he played for Seattle, but I’ll take Joe’s word for it. So on the right side of your infeild you got “The best defensive player ever” (I thought that was Darrelle Revis?) and Marco Scutaro, who should have gotten the AL gold glove for shortstop. Then on the left side you have two gold glove winners in Pedroia and Youk. In the outfield is Ellsbury, Cameron, and Drew. Pretty sick. Tell me a better defensive outfield? I think the only team that is in the same class is KC(Gasp!) with Ankeil, Posednik, and DeJesus. Fast outfield. Anyways, we have a good defense basicly beacuse Theo could not find another excuse to have a lackluster offense.
Bench: Solid bench. You got Jeremy Hermida, Bill Hall, V-Tek, and either a guy like Josh Reddick, Angel Sanchez, Gil Velezquez, or Aaron Bates. That is, unless another Nick Green type magicaly appears again. Hermida is a decent offensive player. He has some wheels and could be a good pinch running guy. He has a little pop. He was a Marlins top prospect for a while but has not really panned ouy yet. Theo was just taking a chance on some player with potential. Hall is what he is. Good defensivly(Shocker) with no bat. You all know about V-Tek. Can’t hit in the second half. look for V-Tek to have a somewhat of a bounce-back year in a limited role. He has hit well in the first half the last two years. And he may have to be Beckett’s personal catcher.
Bullpen: Who is in this bullpen? Papelbon, Bard, Oki, Delcarmen, Rameriz, the other Rameriz, Shouse, Atchison, Dustin Richardson, Fernando Cabrera, Boof. Meh. I like the top three. That’s about it. I wanted to see the Sox go out and sign either Darren Oliver or Mike Gonzalez, but that never happened. I kinda like Richardson. He dominated the AFL this season. Strikeout lefty. Casey Kelly could be up this year, but I doubt he would be ready to contribute. Shouse is no good. I have no clue who Atchison is. Rameriz is what he is. Delcarmen sucks. I never thought Boof was anything. So yeah, maybe improve the pen a bit. And when I say improve I do not mean Mike Timlin, who is looking for a major league job still.
Triple A: The Pawsox may have better players than last year, where they where awful. The Pawsox finished in fourth in their divison and offered no real MLB ready players. That should change this year, as a lot of prospects shoukd be ready for triple A. Here are some: Micheal Bowdon, Angel Sanchez, Gil Velezquez, Josh Reddick, Travis Denker, Josh Reddick, Lars Anderson, Aaron Bates, Ramon A. Rameriz, Bubba Bell, Darnelle MacDonald, Jeff Natle, Mark Wagner, Zach Daeges, Randor Beird, TJ Large, Kason Gabbard. Decent triple A roster. Bowdon has seen the big leagues, I honestly don’t think he is anything special. Sanchez is a terrific defensive player. Velezquez is the last minute, desprate, there is absolutly no one else in the world who can help, utility player. I like Reddick, but he’s not major league ready. Denker is a career minor leaguer. Lars is the second most overrated prospect in the system to Bowdon. I have a stupid man-crush on Aaron Bates although he hit around the medoza line in triple A last year. I don’t know anything about the other Rameriz, Bubba Bell did well in triple A last year. MacDonald can run, but that’s it. Natle is a 1B-DH type. Wagner is a catcher who should be on the MLB roster beacuse he can throw out base runners. The only thing I know about Daeges is he killed the ball in Spring Training and I never heard of him again. We got Beird for David Pauly, enough said there. TJ Large had an ERA over 6.00 last year, and Gabbard saved us from trading Lester to Texas for Eric Gagne.
Lower-leval prospects: You probally know most of the names. Jose Iglesias, Casey Kelly, Alex Wilson, Reymond Fuentes, Ryan Westmorland, Ryan Kalish, and Dustin Richardson. Some of these guys may be September callups, the most likley being Kalish. I feel these are the players to watch in the minor leagues next year. Alex Wilson is not really known like Kelly or Kalish, but I feel he has a bright future in the majors. He is a righty, and was the Red sox second round pick last year. He is often compared to AL rookie of the eyar Andrew Bailey. His one down swing, he had tommy John surgery two years ago. Has a hard fastball and his out-pitch is his slider. He spent last year with Lowell and I would be surprised to see him with Salem or Greenville next year.
Welcome to the first installment of Contenders and Pretenders at Total Bases. Every week we will talk about the teams that are for real in regards to all sports. This week it’s the MLB free agent buyers and sellers.
Red Sox: Contender- I honestly have no clue what the Sox are doing. But I have to put them as a contender for their involvment with the major free agents so far. They are trying to get better, I just think they are not doing it right.
Mariners: Contender- Not for Jason Bay. He’s not going there. Maybe for John lackey, Adrian Gonzalez or Adrian Beltre.
Angels: Pretenders- They will not get Bay or Lackey, I don’t think. They may be sellers with guys like Jaun Rivera and Gary Matthews available.
Yankees: Contenders- Hard to call a team who gets Curtis Granderson a pretender. But I don’t see them doing much more.
Cardinals: Pretenders- They can’t afford Matt Holliday, I don’tsee them doing anything big.
Next week NFL teams- Where do the Patriots rank?
Accoriding to sources, Rich Harden is close
to either siging with the Mariners or Rangers. Too bad, I
wanted him on the Red Sox. More rumors to
As most of you probally know, the Winter Meetings in Indianappolis begin on Monday. Most of the time little to noting happens, but you never know. Here is a list of what you may see happen this week.
- Jason Bay’s destanation: I feel that Jason Bay may sign this week, possibly with Boston, Anaheim, or Seattle. I feel the Red Sox LF problem will be resolved, whether that be from Jason Bay or a possible platoon with Jeremy Hermida and Xavier Nady. I feel Bay’s chance of signing with Seattle has dimmed with their siging of Chone Figgins. Look out for the Cubs as a sleeper here as well.
- Trades? Some players that may be used as a trade chip: Manny Delcarmen, Casey Kotchman, Gary Matthews Jr, Matt Capps, Fransisco Cordero, Heath Bell, Milton Bradley, Pat Burrell, Josh Willingham. The Mets are in on Willingham, the Marlins with Bell and Delcarmen, and you all know the Rays-Bradley rumor by now.
- Spenders Revealed: This week the major free agent spenders may be revealed. I can see Seattle, Boston, Both New York teams, Baltimore, and Chicago Cubs. The Cubs are looking for a closer, and their name has been conected to Mike Gonzlaez, matt Capps, and Matt Lindstrom. Baltimore is belived to be a serious contender for John Lackey, and Jason Marquis is interested in the Mets, though it is unknown if the Mets are interested in him.
- Recent Trades and Signings: Some recent trades and sigings that mey affect other deals: The Rays aquired C Kelly Shoppach, Greg Zaun signed with the Brewers, The Braves signed Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito, The Athletics traded for Jake Fox and Aaron Miles, The Rangers aquired Joe Inglett off waivers, and the Red Sox signed Marco Scutaro.