Well, here we are, Spring Training is starting this weekend, pitchers and catchers are getting ready to report and one thing is for certain in Seattle baseball—nothing. It has been made apparently clear that everyone has something to lose this spring training, there starting position. All except for maybe King Felix.
We are looking at alot of new faces that have came into this organization. We are all looking for one thing that will hopefully come with the new faces - a change of pace. A winning season. An AL west crown and ultimately a World Series pennant to hang in Safeco Field.
To make the change we are all looking for, the Mariners are going to have to do one thing. Forget last season. For one, some of the players that are here now, were not here for last season, so it is not there fault or problem.
Us, as fans have to endure the pain more than some of the players in the organization do now, cause they werent here, we were. The Mariners are going to have to make alot of changes when it comes to this team. The main one is ATTITUDE.
Our new GM and Skipper are going to have to get these guys to a level of unity. We cannot have any ego-mainiacs on this team. We have got some new players with new contracts and some old players with this being the last year before free agency for them.
They need to forget all this and come together as one. If they cannot do this they will not succeed. We have a ton of talent at every position but the main position in concern will be our entire pitching, starters and bullpen.
As far as I can see our starting rotation is going to have one or two changes to it. From what I have been reading, Brandon Morrow is going to get a shot at securing a starting role in the 5 man rotation. Here is how our rotation is going to look.
1 - Felix Hernandez
2 - Erik Bedard
3 - Brandon Morrow
4 - Carlos Silva
5 - Ryan Rowland-Smith/Jarrod Washburn (cannot be determined)
You can argue this rotation all you want but this is going to be how it will look. Of course, everything is in pencil. Injuries can happen, someone else can shine, and so on. Morrow will excel. This will move him into the number 3 spot. Silva is going to bounce back in a big way, so he will secure the 4 spot.
Rowland-Smith is an excellent pitcher, but Jarrod Washburn is getting serious money, that is why they wanted to get rid of him so bad. I dont think they see Washburn in the starting rotation, but to have a guy sitting the bench, making 9 or so million is hard to swallow.
So Rowland-Smith is going to have to give them a way to let there stomach settle and be able to put 9 million on the bench. He will have to kick some serious tale in spring training to take Washburn out of the starting line-up.
The Mariners also picked up a pitchers in the off-season that could compete for a starting role. Garrett Olsen and Tyler Walker could have a great spring training and squeeze themselves right into a starting role. We will see, but I think your looking at concrete come the end of spring training for those top four pitchers.
One thing that hurt us the most in pitching was inconsistancy and injuries. If the pitching can avoid any set backs in the starting rotation, Seattle is going to have an awesome year. There consistantcy is going to be major.
Felix, he had problems with injury and then we he came back he was a pitching machine waiting for batters to hit off of, cause of his inconsistancy to be able to place his pitches in proper spots.
Bedard, well we all know that story, but the story was only one—injury! If he can stay healthy for us, man o man, he will be awesome.
Morrow, He is an all-star waiting to happen and this year is going to be his chance to show exactly what he is fully made of.
Silva, what an awful season he had this year. You know what though, alot of people dont know how lucky we are that, that happened to him. He is going to be coming back with a vengeance—mark my words.
Rowland-Smith (my personal projected starter), he is in the making and if he did his homework this off-season, he will give the new GM and Skipper a reason to put 9 million on the bench.
Our bullpen is full of talent. We brought in alot of good talent and we have some decent talent there. I am not going to speculate on who will be the best set up man but I do think it will be Tyler Walker. So I guess I did say it.
The closer position is going to be up for grabs and I believe that we need to look at not only talent, but a closer that is going to be around for a while. Mark Lowe can definately fit the profile of both. I think that if he seriously wants that position, he will get it.
Well, all in all, I think it is going to be a great season. I think that our new GM is doing a very well job and has brought in the right personel to get us back to the post season.
As I interated before, he has made it perfectly clear that positions are up for grabs and nothing is for sure. I think this is going to change a few players' mind frame. I think they understand the new coaches approach and will deliver a better performance.
The only thing I see missing in the Seattle organization is a proven and true power hitter. That will hopefully be taken care of really soon, though.