Every championship team needs a solid bullpen to finish things up in the late innings.
Many teams spend serious money filling the void that is the pressure job in baseball, the closer roll. In Seattle, first year closer Brandon League did a stellar job replacing the injured David Aardsma.
But what good are these two great arms if they are left sitting in the bullpen at the end of the game?
The fact of the matter is, you have to get the ball into the hands of these guys with some sort of lead on the scoreboard. Now that the Mariners have cemented their bullpen, once again, Seattle fans can only hope their offense will post more runs than in previous years.
You would think, even with most of the same bats coming back, that they would improve and would have to do better than last year. Well, they said that after the 2010 season as well and that didn't seem to happen in 2011—in fact it got worse.
Seeing the bright side of things, Dustin Ackely and Mike Carp were great additions last year, and that gives fans hope that runs could go up this season. The rookies have now seen MLB pitching for a full season, they're comfortable, and should enter 2012 more confidently and thus put up better numbers..right?
I believe that is right! As long as the Mariners can find a way to get runners on ahead of these guys, I feel they can drive them in. Don't look for them to do it via the long-ball—the Mariners have some good gap-to-gap hitters who can drive in runners with base hits and doubles.
Seattle, you have a reason to be excited. If the Mariners can add another bat (and it doesn't HAVE to be Prince Fielder) to drive in some runs and supply any sort of power (20-25 home runs), and if they can get the game to Sherrill and League, the Mariners could tame the beast league that is the American League West.