It's no secret who the ace of this staff is. It's the King, the former Cy Young award winner, the only man who keeps Mariners fans sane at times: Felix Hernandez. In his six years in the show, he has done nothing but impress, and he continues to get better each year. The sky is the limit for him, and he hopes to bring his team and his fans along with him for the ride.
Besides that, you may not know a lot about this staff that ranked in the top half of almost every statistical category last season. For instance, did you know that this staff produced three All-Stars? That's tied with the Yankees for the most in the AL and only trailed San Francisco's four (of which only two deserved to be there, but when your manager is in charge of the roster, anything can happen).
Besides Hernandez, the other two All-Stars were rookie Michael Pineda, who fanned the three batters he faced, and closer Brandon League, who in his first full season as a closer racked up 37 saves in 42 opportunities.
That's not where the talent stopped, though. After Doug Fister and Erik Bedard were traded away at the deadline, the M's needed people to step up and fill in where they had left off. In came Blake Beavan, who made 15 starts, sporting a final record of 5-6 with a respectable ERA of 4.27.
The fifth spot in the rotation was up for grabs, though, and last season no one stepped up and made their name a permanent staple for this year's rotation. However, rookie Danny Hultzen hopes to contend for that spot in Spring Training this year, and he is the easy favorite to earn it.
If and when the offense shows up, these pitchers will be able to pitch to their full ability. Then we will really see just how dominant each can be.
Along with the starters, the bullpen can hold its own as well. Though Aaron Laffey, Jamey Wright and Josh Lueke, the team's inning-eaters from last year, have since moved on, the pen is still good. The Mariners just signed George Sherrill, who posted a 3.00 ERA last season with the Braves. He will be a key piece to get the starters out of jams if needed.
Along with Sherrill, Tom Wilhelmsen, Chance Ruffin, Shawn Kelley and Charley Furbush will do their best to keep their team in the game.
Rumor has it that GM Jack Zduriencik is still shopping around to see what he can get to help out the rotation along with the bullpen. Whoever he adds will continue to help this already-stellar staff, and I think I speak for all Mariners fans here when I say that if you have to trade Figgins to make room for whoever it might be, then please pull the trigger.