The Mariners lost 101 games last season. Their hitting was a huge problem. Now with Raul Ibanez departure, the Mariners will see huge downgrade in their lineup. Here's what the Mariners got this offseason.
IN: Endy Chavez (from NYM), Franklin Gutierrez (from CLE), Mike Carp (from NYM), Russel Branyan (from MIL), Reegie Corona (from NYY).
OUT: Raul Ibanez (to PHI), Willie Bloomquist(to KC), Jeremy Reed (to NYM).
Losing Ibanez is big deal. He hit for average and knocked in 100+ RBI every season since 2006. Now, the Mariners have to rely on Adrian Beltre, who will be on the final year of his five-year contract signed back in 2004.
Don't expect a lot out of Chavez, and Branyan because they won't surprise us, like Jose Guillen did in 2007 for the Mariners.
Here's the projected lineup for the Mariners next season.
1 Ichiro Suzuki RF
2 Yuniesky Betancourt SS
3 Russel Branyan 1B
4 Adrian Beltre 3B
5 Jose Lopez 2B
6 Kenji Johjima C
7 Franklin Gutierrez CF
8 Jeff Clement DH
9 Wladimir Balentien LF
Yeah, there are holes to fill. The Mariners clearly needs power hitter. So who's available in the market?
Bobby Abreu, 36, constantly knocks in 100 RBI every season, so good option, but his salary is high.
Adam Dunn, 29, hits 40 HRs and 100+RBI last season, but his batting average is real low, around .240. Good option, if he plays DH but his strike out rate reminds me Richie Sexson.
Andruw Jones, 32, was released by the Dodgers few days ago. Currently, eight teams are interested in him. He still is gold grove center fielder, and his power looks declined in Los Angeles, but he can come back. Can't forget his 51 HR season in 2005 and 41 in 2006. He is definite upgrade over Balentien or Gutierrez.
I'd like to see Jones in Seattle. He will play nicely in pressure free Seattle, and can expect good result. Hope Zduriencik inquire his agent Scott Boras about Jones and of course, un drafted rookie Josh Fields, at same time.
Without hitting, you can't win a baseball game. Pitching is also important, but the Mariners must upgrade this lineup immediately. Maybe trading one of the starters, like Jarrod Washburn (although it will be real tough), and bringing in solid hitter wouldn't be bad idea.