For all of us baseball addicts we are ten days away from the opening of baseball season for the Seattle Mariners. It looks like they are getting into season form; hopefully they will start the season on good footing instead of what happened last year.
The infield looks set to go with Danny Valencia starting at first base when Daniel Vogelbach was sent down to triple A a few days ago. They want him to work on his defense and hitting. Dipoto and Servais both said that he is in the same spot that Zunino and Paxton were last year. Depending on how he does hopefully he will be up in a manner of weeks. The rest of the infield as expected Cano at second, Segura at short and Seager at third. For the Mariners to get off to a good start it would be nice if Seager can do well in April. He generally starts of slowly in April. Although his defensive was OK last year it wasn’t up to par over previous seasons so I expect that he is looking to do a lot better this year . Taylor Motter will be the backup at first base for now along with the other infield positions.
With Vogelbach being sent down it does look like Heredia will be the fourth outfielder unless Ben Gamel makes a push over the next ten days. Also the Mariners may start the season with eight relievers. As we expected Jarrod Dyson will be in left, Leonys Martin in center and Mitch Haniger in right field. Nelson Cruz will be the primary designated hitter though he will see occasional action in right field.
The starting pitching will be Felix Hernandez as the opening starter and number one pitcher. In his last two outings he looked a lot like his old self. It was announced on Friday by Scott Servais that Iwakuma will be the number two starter so that means that either Drew Smyly or James Paxton will be number three and the other will be number four. Gallardo is still expected to be the fifth starter though his spring training outings haven’t been that great.
The eight relievers in the bullpen will likely be known in the next few days. We know that Diaz will be the closer and it looks like Dan Altavilla along with Nick Vincent and Evan Scribner will be four of the six right handed relievers. Veteran reliever Casey Fien might be the fifth reliever and the sixth is questionable at this point. Of course the Mariners could still go with seven total relievers to start the season. Marc Rzepczynski will be the left handed specialist and Ariel Maranda could be the left handed long reliever out of the bullpen. Three right handed relievers dealing with injuries Steve Cishek, Tony Zych and Shae Simmons are all coming along. Not sure who will be ready in ten days. One of them may be the last reliever picked to be starting the season on the roster. Also would not be surprised if they all three start on the disable list and then do rehab assignment as well.
The catching position looks like it hasn’t changed at all during spring training. Mike Zunino will be the starter and Carlos Ruiz the backup. Manager Scott Servais would like Zunino though to walk at least one more time a week. The good news though he has walked more than he has struck out during training camp. At least early in the season with some off days Ruiz will likely catch only once a week unless Zunino gets off to a poor start.
So this looks like a pretty good roster to me. Of course there are some questionable spots as well. It would not surprise me at all if Jerry Dipoto goes out and makes a trade especially for the bullpen. Go M’s.