A Month Before Spring Training

We are now getting down to where we see the Mariners in action. The pitchers report on Feb. 14 while the position players come in on Feb. 18.

According to General Manager Jerry Dipoto the major league roster is pretty well set only minor league acquisitions’ will happen. So I will be going to go over the roster the way it is unless someone comes in including minor leaguers.

I will look at the starting pitchers that the Mariners have and those who will be competing for a spot but may land in triple A unless they are released for them to get a job in another organization. The bullpen looks like it is set for most of the spots however we will look at those that will be competing as well. In the pitching it will depend a lot about whether there are any injuries.

The acquisition recently of two starting pitches the starting rotation looks like Felix Hernandez likely will be the opening starting pitcher once again. He will get in some action in the World Baseball Classic. The Mariners will likely go right, left, right, left and right so James Paxton will go second followed by Iwakuma. The rotation will be finished with newcomers Drew Smyly and Yovani Gallardo. Paxton and Smyly both lefties could be switched in the order as well depending who may be ready and have had the best spring training. Also competing for starting rotation is Ariel Miranda who likely will end up as the second left hander in the bullpen. Depending how long the starters are going he will probably pitch long relief though he could pitch to a tough lefty in the sixth inning. Two others being considered in the rotation are Chris Heston who the Mariners signed as a free agent and previously pitched for the San Francisco. Also the Mariners picked up Rob Whalen from the Atlanta Braves. Most likely Whalen will start the season in triple A. Cody Martin who spent most of last season with Tacoma will start the season in Triple A as well. Heston could be released or traded during training camp as well. He most likely won’t be sent to triple A. There are a few other pitchers like LHP James Pazos the Mariners traded for with the New York Yankees who will start in Tacoma as well.

At catcher the Mariners will be going with Mike Zunino who started last year with Tacoma. He is still considered the future starting catcher for the Mariners depending in his hitting. In November the Mariners traded for catcher Carlos Ruiz. The Mariners send left handed pitcher Vidal Nuno to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Ruiz. The Mariners still have Jesus Sucre for insurance in case something happens with Zunino and Ruiz. Sucre is out of options so he would have to go through waivers if he doesn’t make the team because he is out of options. Mariners signed Sucre to a contract that would pay him more money being sent to Triple A than most players are paid there hoping that no one would snatch for that reason. Chris Iannetta who started the season last year for the Mariners became a free agent because they did not pick up his option. He signed a free agent contract recently with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He will be competing with two other catchers to get playing time.

Next time will look at the bullpen and the regular position players. Most of the bullpen will look the same as the end of last season however the Mariners have picked up a few pitchers to compete while outfield will look different except the return of Leonys Martin. Second and third base will stay the same with Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager while shortstop and first base will be different. Until next time Go M’s.

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