It’s spring time and the sun is out (kind of), which means that it’s baseball time! The Seattle Mariners kicked off the 2017 season on Monday, so let’s take a look at how the team shaping up to start the season.
Robinson Cano is a key to the Mariners offense this year.
The Mariners are coming off a season in which they went 86-76, good for second place in the American League West Division, but they missed out on the playoffs for the 15th year in a row, good for the longest postseason drought in the MLB.
The Mariners return a similar roster to last year’s, giving hope for fans that they can finally break the drought. Their offense is led by the core of Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager and Nelson Cruz, who hit 39, 43, and 30 home runs respectively in 2016.
Those three create for a middle of the lineup that will go toe-to-toe with any in the league. They have surrounded them with a group of new pieces that the front-office expects will help them compete. They traded for Jean Segura, who projects to be their leadoff hitter after batting .319 with 20 home runs last season, accumulating 203 hits while playing for the Diamondbacks. They bring back Leonys Martin, who will play with Segura in the outfield and hit 15 home runs last year. They start Mike Zunino at catcher, a former third overall pick whose development has not gone as smoothly as the organization had hoped. In four seasons he has never hit above .214, but they are hoping he can have a breakout year.
When it comes down to it, this team will go as far as their pitching can take them. Their offense will have no problem, but their starting rotation will decide their fate. They need ace Felix Hernandez to retain his form after two seasons that saw his lowest ERA and strikeout numbers in eight years. Behind him is James Paxton who is looking to have a breakout year himself, after not living up to high expectations the past two years. He is poised to make the biggest leap on the team.
The Mariners have the making of a team that can win their division and break their playoff drought. Their biggest threats in the division are the Astros and the Rangers. The Astros are the top bet to win the division, but the Mariners will threaten them and could easily make a push for a wild card spot on the backs of their power bats.
Editor may be reached at