Seattle Mariners 2016 Team Preview

Last year the Seattle Mariners were supposed to break out according to many experts. While they were better than they have been in the past, they failed to make the playoffs for the 14th straight season. This year Seattle has made many low key moves that look like they improve the teams' depth more than anything. Perhaps it will just take a turnaround season for stars Robinson Cano and Felix Hernandez to get them over the hump. One thing that’s for sure is they’ll be a fun team to watch in 2016...

Listen to Tyler interview Kayla Van Horn about the Mariners.

Key Additions

Steve Cishek, Wade Miley, Adam Lind, Leonys Martin, Joaquin Benoit, Nori Aoki, Nate Karns, Evan Scribner, Chris Ianetta, Boog Powell, Justin De Fratus, Jonathan aro, Steve Clevenger, Luis Sardinas, Travis Ishikawa, Gaby Sanchez, Ed Lucas, Daniel Robertson, Mike Baxter, Joe Wieland, Brad Mills, Donn Roach, Ryan Cook, Cody Martin, Casey Coleman, Blake Parker, Ryne Harper

Key Subtractions

Carson Smith, Mark Trumbo, Fernando Rodney, Logan Morrison, Brad Miller, Tom Willhelmsen, Danny Farquhar, Roenis Elias, James Jones, AJ Schugel, Joe Beimel, Logan Kensing, JC Ramirez, Tyler Olson, Rob Rasmussen, Ramon Flores, Daniel Missaki, Carlos Herrera, Freddy Peralta, Trey Cochran-Gill, Edgar Olmos, Jose Ramirez, John Hicks, Nelson Ward, Enyel De Los Santos

Biggest Strength - Well balanced all around

When looking at the Mariners, it’s hard to see anything that really sticks out. You can say that’s good and bad. Good in the sense that they don’t seem to have any glaring weaknesses anywhere, but bad in the fact that they don’t have the one part of the team that looks great compared to other teams.

Biggest Weakness - Questions about back end starting pitchers

Last year many thought that the rotation was the biggest strength for this team. Some even suggested that it may be one of the best in the entire league. This opinion was wrong. The hype machine was optimistic compared to reality with regards to guys like Taijuan Walker and James Paxton, who now have a lot to prove before I call this rotation good again. Nate Karns might be good after having a good rookie season, but Wade Miley is a big question mark. Looks like Walker, Paxton, Karns, or Miley will have to start the season in AAA because Seattle has 6 guys for 5 spots which is a good thing because most of them are x-factors at this point.

Something to keep an eye on - Ketel Marte

Shortstop has been a problem position for Seattle for the past several seasons and they may have found their long term solution with Ketel Marte. Last year he earned his spot with great play over the last couple months and he will enter the season virtually uncontested for the starting job. Marte is a good defender and has a chance to be in one of the higher tiers for the position offensively as well. Hopefully for the Mariners sake, he lives up to my expectations.

Getty Images
Getty Images

Projected Lineup… Lefties*… Switch Hitters^

  1. Nori Aoki* - LF
  2. Robinson Cano* - 2B
  3. Nelson Cruz - DH
  4. Kyle Seager* - 3B
  5. Adam Lind* - 1B
  6. Franklin Gutierrez - RF
  7. Chris Ianetta - C
  8. Leonys Martin* - CF
  9. Ketel Marte^ - SS

Projected Bench

Seth Smith*

Shawn O’Malley^

Jesus Montero

Steve Clevenger*

Projected Rotation… Lefties*

  1. Felix Hernandez
  2. Hisashi Iwakuma
  3. Wade Miley*
  4. Taijuan Walker
  5. Nate Karns

Projected Bullpen

Steve Cishek - Closer

Joaqin Benoit

Tony Zych

Charlie Furbush*

Evan Scribner

Mike Montgomery*

Justin De Fratus

Fantasy Bargain - Ketel Marte

Marte is coming into this season with the job of starting shortstop for the Mariners and with that comes a great opportunity. Since he is one of only a handful at the position last year to post above average offensive numbers, it puts him in the top 10 fantasy shortstop conversation. Add the fact that he is still super young and he has almost no competition in the organization, he is also a very attractive keeper league option. Expect him to be a better version of Elvis Andrus in fantasy… Or a lesser version of what Dee Gordon did last year.

Overrated Fantasy Option - Nelson Cruz

Now that Cruz is getting up there in age, this will be his age 34 season, and he is a couple years removed from his PED suspension, it seems more than likely to me that he is due for a regression. Plus he is still hitting in one of the worst parks for homers in the league. Cruz definitely has a chance to hit a whole bunch of homers over the next few years, but make sure you are realistic with your expectation. He hit 44 homers last year, this year expect around 30-35.

Conclusion/Season Prediction

The Mariners have definitely bolstered their depth this season. They will rely on many platoons and play match-ups throughout the year and that will help them be at least average offensively. The brand new bullpen they assembled this off-season has a chance to be one of the best parts of their whole team and that should be fun to watch as well. Overall, this looks like an average team to me. I predict about 80 wins. If Cano and Felix both re-emerge as top 10 players in the league, they could contend to win the division and win close to 90 games.