The Great Rookstrdomous has spoken. I know its not even spring training yet but dont think these guys aren’t serious about turning things around. The Mariners are taking a lets win this thing now approach to the off season by adding some big names.
First and foremost the surprise trade to obtain Cliff Lee. Lee is one of the top five pitchers in the game , add him to Felix Hernandez ( who in my book is the number two pitcher in the MLB) and you have the best one two punch in baseball. The Mariners have a good mix of young talent and savvy veterans that are going to make them serious contenders to steal the west from what appears to be a weakened Anehim Angels, and here is why:
Chone Figgens– Figgens will be manning third base and gives them another player with dangerous speed. He is by no means a power hitter but he hit .290 and had 42 stolen bases last season. Besides torturing opposing pitchers when he gets on base he is a good fielder as well.
Jack Wilson– The Former pirates short stop is a great defender and will provide solid defense behind that tough pitching staff. Also not a power hitter or even a very good hitter for that matter. Jack holds a lifetime fielding percentage of .997 thats pretty darn good.
Franklin Gutierrez – at 26 years old this four year vertern has gotten better every year. last year he hit 18 HR and had 73 RBI while batting .283. I see him having a breakout year in 2010. I think he will go closer to .300 and have 20 Hr and 20 stolen bases.
Ken Griffy Jr.- At 40 years old Griffy is obviously in the downside of his career but you cant say enough about his presence in the clubhouse and what he brings to this team. As a Dh this season look for him to have 20 HR and 70 RBI’s as well.
Ichiro Suzuki– Ichiro isnt human thats all I can say. I think he is the best pure hitter in the game hands down.Including his time in japan he has had 13 straight seasons batting over .300 he like Figgens tortures pitchers whenever he is on the base pads. Just the way he comes out of the box before the bat even hits the ground he is half way to first base. Its very difficult to double him up and he turns doubles into tripples like nobody else. His 9 straight seasons in the MLB with 200 + hits is just not human and at 36 doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.
Felix Hernandez– At 23 years old we have yet to see the best of King Felix . Last years 19-5 record was just a start of showing his true potential. Im looking for 22 wins in 2010 and Im calling him an early favorite for the CY Young
Cliff Lee– Lee may very well only be in Seattle for a year as he is a free agent at the end of 2010 and did not come with a guarentee for extension. The former Cy Young winner is only 31 and primed to have a great year in a weakened AL West. Lee will teach Hernandez a lot if he is willing to learn. Besides maybe CC Sabathia and Roy Halladay i cant think of anyone else who is a better pitcher when all the chips are down. His middle name should be “big game”
So as you can see the pieces are there for the Mariners to have a big year. Especially seeing the Angels without John Lakey and Chone Figgens. Oakland is just to young still and may have lost thier best power hitter in Jack Cust. The Rangers usually look good on paper but never quite pull it together they have a very potent offense and solid fielders. Pitching is where they dont match up. Rich Harden will be their ace and he is a re-hab case.
I look for it to be a two team race and as I have already stated this division is Seattle’s for the taking.