In 2012 the orioles and the Oakland A’s surprised baseball by making the playoffs. No one expected either of these teams to do as well as they did, but for one reason or another they were able to put together a great season. As 2013 approaches, people might start to wonder what team or teams will be able to shock everyone. One of the best choices for a shocker special is the Seattle Mariners.
When you start to talk about eh Mariners, most people think the conversation begins and ends with Felix Hernandez. He is the most prominent player on the team. The evidence is the 7 year, $175 million dollars contract that he recently signed. There were some reports that it took a while to finalize the deal because of possible shoulder issues with Hernandez. The deal was completed and the health issues that may have been there do not seem to be a problem.
Hernandez may be the highest paid Mariner and is definitely one of the most talented, but there are 5 other reasons to believe that this year’s team may be able to surprise a lot of people.
- Defense – This is often one of the most underrated needs for teams. The Mariners have a strong defense in the middle of the field with Franklin Guttierrez in centerfield and Brendan Ryan at shortstop. These guys will help prevent many runs from being scored during the season.
- Power Hitters – Jesus Montero, Kendry Morales and Michael Morse are all expect to help in this area. The fact that the fences have been moved in at Safeco Park is going to help as well. Dustin Ackley will improve and there is hope that Nick Franklin will arrive at some time to help the top of the lineup.
- Pitching – There are more pitchers on this team. Kevin Millwood may have retired and hector Noesi is not with the team, but they have replacements that should be able to put up better numbers than those two did in Hishashi Iwakuma and Erasmo Ramirez. Joe Blanton will not put up the most spectacular numbers but he does pitch a lot of innings and is a proven winner. And don’t forget about Hernandez. He is just starting to find out how to be a great pitcher and should be one of the best in the majors this year.
It looks like the Mariners do have many of the pieces of the puzzle in place for a great year. The one thing they will need to take them over the top is a little bit of luck. They need to avoid injuries and win a couple of games that they shouldn’t. If they do this they can match or beat the years that the Orioles and A’s were able to post last year. There will be plenty of people talking about how surprising the 2013 Mariners are, but some will know that they were ready for the jump.