The Seattle Mariners have one week until the regular season starts next Monday on April 3. The position players are already set. The only difference since the beginning of training camp Danny Valencia will start at first base. The thought was that Daniel Vogelbach would start at first and Valencia may play against tough left handed pitchers in a possible platoon situation however things did not work out that way. Vogelbach will start at Tacoma and how long he will be there will depend on him. Taylor Motter who is the utility player for the Mariners will backup Valencia at first base as well.
This all means that things change for the outfield as well; at least for the backup role. Guillermo Heredia most likely will be the fourth outfielder though hasn’t totally been determined as of yet. We will hear sometime this week how that all works out. Ben Gamel still has a shot at being the backup outfielder too. Heredia has had an outstanding spring training so far. The decision may come down to whether the Mariners staff feels that Jarrod Dyson can be the everyday left fielder or has to be platooned against lefties.
The starting pitching looks the same position when spring training started however the Mariners may change who the fifth starter will be. The Mariners did send Ariel Maranda down to triple A to start the season. Depending how he performs in Tacoma and how the starters for Seattle do. Also on Saturday Dillon Overton pitched an outstanding game going six innings even though he gave up a home run in the first inning only. The Mariners want him to still be a starter so he could begin the season in Tacoma unless they add him to the bullpen or make a surprise move in the starting rotation.
Right now it looks like the Mariners will start with eight men in the bullpen. How that works right now is hard to say. Five of the spots are set as of now so it will be the final three spots that we will have to see what happens. This could come down until Sunday when the Mariners set their roster. Edwin Diaz will be the closer at no one surprise. Dan Altavilla who has had a wonderful spring will be one of the other right handers in the bullpen. Two others will be Nick Vincent and Evan Scribner. The sure left handed specialist will be Marc Rzepczynski. Most likely two of the three will be right handers and the third a left. The Mariners have three right handed relievers that will start on the disabled list in Steve Cishek, Tony Zych and Shae Simmons. The Mariners may go out and pick up another right handed reliever depending on how long they believe any of the three will be on the disabled list. If they don’t Casey Fien and Jonathan Aro may begin the season in the bullpen however Aro will have to be added to the 40-man roster. This year though the disabled list will be ten days instead of the fifteen like it has been in the past. This will show more maneuvering with the twenty-five man roster over the season.
The opening roster is important and the reason the Mariners are looking to go with eight relievers because the first thirteen games are played within their division that includes seven against the Houston Astros. They start their season on the road at Houston than go to Anaheim to take on the Angels than home to play the Astros once again. The first home stand is finished by playing three against the Texas Rangers and three more against the Miami Marlins. They have only two off days in April as well so the fifth starter will be critical this time and the reason the Mariners are looking to go with eight relievers. They may have to make some moves during that stretch of games as well. Go M’s.