The Mariners were thought to be a contender for the playoffs going into the 2008 season. During the 2009 season many thoughts will be given to the farm system. Players like Greg Halman, Philipe Aumont, Michael Pineda, Carlos Triunfel, and Adam Moore are of great interest.
If the Mariners can hold on to current players such as Felix Hernandez, Brandon Morrow, Ryan Rowland-Smith, and many of the minor leaguers, they can be dominant. The key is to solidify the areas by one or two players so that when the prospects become players they know how to handle the Majors.
As for pitching, Brandon Morrow and Felix Hernandez could be the next Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. Morrow has been stellar in his first partial season as a starter, and Felix Hernandez is only 22 and was putting up all-star-worthy numbers.
Ryan Rowland-Smith has a little to prove but he will be a winner along with Michael Pineda, and Philipe Aumont. Gaby Hernandez is also a future option.
For the outfield, Jeremy Reed, Mike Morse, and Mike Wilson are all young and can do a great job producing everything imaginable near the warning track. Wladimir Balentein has a place on the roster but will likely take the reins at DH when he becomes a regular everyday player. Mike Wilson has the potential to be like Ryan Ludwick was this season.
Jose Lopez would be great to build an infield, if not a team, around. Matt Tuissappo will hopefully be at third once Adrian Beltre becomes a free agent. Carlos Triunfel will be a major part in the infield. First base will be covered by Bryan Lahair if the rumored Yuniesky Betancourt for Billy Butler trade doesn't work out.
Betancourt could have a break-out season. He is not spending this offseason with his family, but with Raul Ibanez in Florida practicing batting mechanics and discipline at the plate.
The bullpen is one of the most productive all season with Roy Corcocan, Sean Green, Mark Lowe, and J.J Putz solidifying it. If Putz can return to his 2007 numbers under Don Wakamatsu they will be continuing dominance.
Behind the plate there are many catchers waiting for their turn in the spotlight. Kenji Johjima, Jeff Clement, Jamie Burke, Rob Johnson, and soon Adam Moore are in need of a makeover. Trade Kenji Johjima and Jamie Burke and we have a productive team.
Don Wakamatsu and Jack Zduriencik are off to a terrific start and I foresee a strong connection between the two.
The team would be:
C Adam Moore
1B Billy Butler/ Bryan Lahair
2B Jose Lopez
SS Carlos Triunfel/ Yuniesky Betancourt
3B Matt Tuissappo
OF/DH Greg Halman
OF/DH Mike Wilson
OF/DH Mike Morse
OF/DH Jeremy Reed
SP Felix Hernandez
SP Brandon Morrow
SP Ryan Rowland- Smith
SP Michael Pineda
SP Philipe Aumont
RP Sean Green
RP Roy Corcocan
RP Mark Lowe