5 Radical Predictions for the Remainder of the Mariners' Season
From individual performances to team goals, there just seems to be a different vibe surrounding this Mariners team than has been there in years past. The Mariners may still be a shade under .500, but they continue to battle against quality teams and show glimpses of what could be when everything starts to click.
So what exactly could the Mariners do if everything clicks?
Well, there are of course the individual statistics that could come from it, but there are also moves the Mariners could make to truly make a splash in the AL West. With that in mind, here are five radical predictions for the remainder of the Mariners' season.
Mike Morse Leads the AL in Home Runs
Let's start with the big guy.
Mike Morse has been a breath of fresh air for Mariners fans this season, as he has finally brought the power source that Mariners fans have been looking for the past decade. Morse is currently tied for fifth in the American League with 10 home runs and has done so while missing six games throughout the season.
Morse is currently projected to finish the season with 39 homers, but it would not be the least bit surprising to see the beast crack 40. If Morse does, he will be the first Mariner since Alex Rodriguez in 2000 to hit more than 40 in a season.
This may be the least radical of predictions, but when no Mariner has led the American League in homers since Ken Griffey Jr. in 1999, it is still considered a bit of a reach.
Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma Finish Top 5 in AL Cy Young
One top-five finish in the AL Cy Young Award wouldn't be too much of a surprise for the Mariners, but what about two?
This is more a radical prediction for Hisashi Iwakuma than it is for Felix Hernandez, but with the way Iwakuma is pitching right now, it may certainly be possible. In all honesty, it would be unrealistic to expect Iwakuma to continue to pitch at the level he is now for the rest of the season, but then again this isn't what this slideshow is all about.
Currently, ESPN has both Felix and Iwakuma ranked sixth and eighth, respectively, in their Cy Young predictor, and with Joe Nathan and Justin Masterson both ranked above Iwakuma currently, it's not that out of the question for him to make the jump.
Mariners Are Buyers at the Trade Deadline; Acquire Chase Headley
This is radical because of how specific it is; but the Mariners showed the willingness to acquire a superstar this offseason and would have had one if not for a no-trade clause. So what's going to stop the Mariners from going after another one?
The Padres are still a ways from contending, and at this point may be better served to trade Chase Headley than try to convince him to sign a long-term deal. More importantly, the Padres need pitching prospects, which the Mariners just so happen to have.
With the Mariners floating around .500 and only being a few games out of the final wild-card spot, general manager Jack Zduriencik will go all-in on the third baseman to become the offensive face of the Mariners for the future.
In order to get Headley, the Mariners will likely surrender Danny Hultzen, Nick Franklin (again) and parts, and then proceed to give Headley the contract he has been looking for. After the trade, the Mariners will send a still struggling Dustin Ackley down to the minors to help him find his swing and to give him a refresher course on how to play the outfield in order to make room for Kyle Seager at second base.
Possible? Maybe. Radical? Absolutely.
Mariners Finish in Second in the AL West
Okay okay, so the Mariners were in second place in the AL West for one day. But why couldn't this group of scrappy Mariners finish in second place?
With the Angels continuing to struggle with pitching, the A's up-and-down play and the Astros continuing to make plays like this happen, the Mariners suddenly don't look like such a bad pick for second place, especially with the addition of Chase Headley to the lineup.
The Mariners have fought through a brutal early-season schedule, yet still find themselves floating around the .500 mark halfway through the month of May.
Let it also be noted that the Mariners have yet to play with their whole roster fully healthy for an extended period of time.
Sure, Franklin Gutierrez may never be an everyday player again for the Mariners, but he still makes the Mariners a better team when he is in the lineup. If Guti can play in 100 games this season for Seattle, the Mariners will have an excellent chance to do the unthinkable and beat out both the Angels and the A's in the standings.
Imagine a Mariners batting order of Saunders, Guti, Seager, Headley, Morse and Kendrys Morales.
Not so bad, right?
Mariners Win One of the Two AL Wild-Card Spots
Hey, if we're thinking radical, why not go for the gusto on this one?
With the addition of Chase Headley to the Mariners lineup, and late-season call-ups of James Paxton and Taijuan Walker, the Mariners will catch fire in the month of September and grab one of the wild-card spots in the American League.
With how things are shaking out, the Mariners will most likely be competing with the Red Sox, Yankees, Orioles, Indians, A's and Angels for two wild-card spots.The Red Sox lack pitching outside the duo of Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, the Yankees can't stay healthy, the Indians lack pitching depth in general and the Orioles, A's and Angels all have their flaws as well, so why can't Seattle make a run?
Remember, nobody thought at any point that the Athletics had a shot in 2012, yet there they were at the end of the season sitting on top of the AL West. Seattle has the pieces to be able to make a run like that happen; it's just a matter of if and when they can put it all together.
At least I think they can; but hey, that may just be the radical side of me coming out.