After coming off one of the worst seasons in their franchise history, the Mariners started off the 2009 season with 18-22 record. Although they are under .500, the M's are playing much better this year, compared to last season. What made the Mariners to get better? Well, new players, like Russell Branyan, are really helping them. Let's grade their work thus far.
Russell Branyan-FA Sign from Milwaukee, A+
Finally getting a full time job, Branyan is pounding the ball well. Everyone knew that he has power, but he is not known for consistency. But thus far, he is hitting .310, 10 homers with 20 RBI. You still say he is not for real?
Ken Griffey Jr.-FA Sign from the Chicago White Sox, B-
The Mariners brought "The Kid" back to Seattle. He is bringing fans to the stadium and staying healthy so far. He is not hitting well, but what he is doing is worth about "B-."
Franklin Gutierrez-Acquired in a trade with Cleveland, B
He is hitting around .260, but he brings excellent defence to the Mariners' outfield. His average was over .300, earlier this month and in April. So, he should bring his average up later in the season.
Endy Chavez-Acquired in a trade with the New York Mets, B-
Same with Gutierrez, great defence in the outfield. He was hitting .300, but recently slowed down, and his average is now at .274. Well, he is known for his defence so his work so far is "B-."
Ronny Cedeno-Acquired in a trade with the Chicago Cubs, C
Cedeno is taking a role as a utility player, just like Willie Bloomquist was last year, so his playing time is limited. When one of the infielders gets hurt, he should be there as a replacement.
Mike Sweeney-FA Sign from Oakland, C-
Sweeney declined significantly since his days in Kansas City, so he is used as a backup of Branyan.
David Aardsma-Acquired in a trade with Boston, A
Aardsma is now closing for the Mariners in place of the struggling Brandon Morrow. He is 4-for-4 in saves, six holds, 1.45 ERA, pretty much the top reliever in the bullpen. Considering the fact that the Mariners acquired him for cheap, what Zduriencik has done for the team is just amazing.
Chris Jakubauskas-Minor League Free Agent, D
Strong spring training brought the 30-year-old rookie to the big league. But so far he has a 2-4 record, 7.13 ERA, and might lose his spot in the rotation. Next start might be the last chance for him to stay in the major.
Shawn Kelley-Call up from the minor, C+
Just like Jakubauskas, he also made the opening day with strong spring training, and he proved it with 1-1 record and 1.54 ERA. But unfortunately, he strained his left oblique and was placed on DL. The team says he is ahead of schedule, but it'll take him about three more weeks before he can start his pitching program. His stats is "A" work, but his injury brought the grade down.
Garrett Olson-Acquired in a trade with the Chicago Cubs, C-
If someone is to replace Jakubauskas in the rotation, Olson should take that role. His ERA is at 4.85, but much better than Jakubauskas. He might just make the rotation.
Jason Vargas-Acquired in a trade with the New York Mets, B
Vargas was called up to the Mariners, when Carlos Silva went on to the DL. Surprisingly, he has 1.29 ERA with 1-0 record in 14 innings including two starts. If Silva's injury will take him awhile to heal, Vargas should be able to stay in the rotation.