There's a lot of talk in the blogosphere about how this team will play this year. What will the strengths of the M's be, what are its weaknesses? And then there are those who only care about wins and championships; they will be disappointed. There are those who feel the team should have been more active on the free agent market this year. I don't disagree, but the Mariners did not need to make a big move on Pujols or Fielder, trapping this team in contracts they'll only regret later. I know the word on the street is the big TV deals coming down the road in the next few years would solve all that. But I believe the most important thing the M's can do is to find out what they have, rather than block their talented youngsters with expensive free agents.
The Mariners have so many question marks, it's difficult to say how well they'll do. I predict they'll win more than the 67 games they won last year. I don't think they'll do a lot better than that, maybe 75 wins, but if things come together for some of the younger players and Ichiro and Figgins have better seasons they might be a .500 team. I don't think that will happen, but I'd take it.
|Jack Zdurencik with Rick Rizzs at FanFest. This is a critical year for Jack Z: will his team begin to show signs of maturity and development?|
Here's my take on the team:
|Ichiro's done nothing but hit the ball this spring. Will it be good enough to be an effective number three hitter?|
|Do we care if Chone Figgins has a bunch of gloves to use in various spots if he still only hits .190? That's been his spring so far.|
|We all know Saunders make the plays in the outfield. To paraphrase the Natural: "There seems to be something wrong with Saunders; he's hitting the ball."|
Bullpen blues--I'm really hoping the starting pitchers can go late into games, because so far I'm pretty unimpressed with the bullpen. The Mariners stockpiled bullpen arms during the off-season: Shawn Camp, Hong Chi-Kuo, George Sherill and a host of others. Unfortunately most have not had strong springs. While Brandon League, Shawn Kelley, and Tom Wilhelmson might be guys who can be counted on, the rest of the spots look kind of thin. Help.
|Catricala is greeted by import Munenori Kawasaki after clubbing a home run. Catricala and Kawasaki have both opened eyes with their hitting.|