Can the Mariners compete this year?
The Seattle Mariners have been one of the worst teams in baseball over the past few years. They have let fans down with trading away players who would later become all stars, and by picking up free agents who would become duds.
So the question is: can the Seattle Mariners truly have a shot at competing? Not even making it to the playoffs but being in the playoff hunt would be a success for the M’s this year. And it’s looking like this is the year that the Mariners may finally be able to finish above .500 and be in the AL wild card race in September.
They have an ace pitcher to lead their starting rotation in Felix Hernandez, while they also have young talent such as Hisashi Iwakuma and Brandon Maurer. But pitching has not been the problem for Seattle over the past few years. It’s been the hitting. Last year the M’s finished last in batting average, on base percentage, and slugging percentage in all of Major League Baseball. So to compete Seattle must improve its hitting.
The Mariners have made moves in the offseason to do just that. They have shortened the fences at Safeco Field, and they have brought in veteran talent, in Michael Morse and Kendrys Morales. This vetran presence should take pressure off the young hitters, Justin Smoak, Dustin Ackley, Kyle Seager, and Jesus Montero. Morse and Kendrys have been lighting it up in Spring Training with a combined 11 HR. Hopefully this combination of veteran and young talent is the key to spark the Mariner offense.
This may be the year the Mariners finnaly comptete again. They have to deal with one of the toughest divisions in baseball, but if they can compete in the wild card race, all Mariner fans would find that to be a victory in itself.