Big names for the Mariners are Beltre, Griffey, Sweeney and Branyan. Or, that is how I see it. I am not including Bedard or Batista as I see both of those guys pitching somewhere else in 2010.
Beltre would be great to keep, even though he has yet to live up to those NL MVP numbers he achieved before signing in Seattle in 2004. His defense is something that would be nearly impossible to replace. Matt Tuiasosopo is not the next greatest third baseman.
Griffey and/or Sweeney? The hometown would love to see Griffey back, but most baseball fans would rather have Sweeney in DH as he was able to produce in that role. I see Sweeney going elsewhere and Griffey returning for a swan song of a season. To show you what a class act Sweeney is, here is Jim Street’s blog.
Russell Branyan had a career year, even though the last 2 months he spent most of his time day-to-day or on the DL. Leading the team in HR’s should warrant a return trip to the Emerald City. Ibanez did the same last year and was playing the World Series this year so who knows what decisions will be made.
Regardless of the fait of our free agent eligible players, we need to find ways to improve the offense. We were dead last in batting average, on-base percentage and runs scored. That does not look good. Especially when the top 4 offensive teams in the American league played in October. Our pitching was good last year, first in ERA. The trick will be raising the bar on offense without having adverse affects on pitching.
Here’s to an exciting hot stove league and I cannot wait for November 13th!