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How To Fix The M’s For 2016: Seattle Mariners State Of The Union

Seattle was a lot of peoples pick to win the American League it seemed. A 76 - 86 season record ensued, causing the franchise to fire their GM and coach. Now with a tough AL West to contend with in the near future, we look on how the M's may go about their business this fall.

Seattle was a lot of peoples pick to win the American League in 2015. A 76 – 86 season record ensued, causing the franchise to fire their GM and coach. Now with a tough AL West to contend with in the near future, we look on how the M’s may go about their business this fall.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer) 

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The Seattle Mariners made a lot of prognosticators look bad this year (including yours truly).  Of course the Washington Nationals also did as well. Yep..Guilty again.

It was a good thing I put some money on the Blue Jays to win the World Series in preseason, and then hedged against them in the ALCS with KC.  I was  also fortunate enough to go 9 – 4 with my prop bets as well, and did decent in picking the Mets over the Dodgers in Game 5 of the NLDS, then win over the Cubs, otherwise I would have taken a beating for the year.

Anyways, enough about me, how about the 76 – 86 Mariners?  This team dropped 11 wins from the 2014 campaign, and it looked ugly on them.

Felix Hernandez had a dominate 1st half to the 2015 before he had a few blowout games in the 2nd half to balloon his ERA to a 3.53 mark. AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Felix Hernandez had a dominate 1st half to the 2015 before he had a few blowout games in the 2nd half (ERA of 4.25 Post ALL – Star Game) to balloon his ERA to a 3.53 mark.  The King has registered 200+ IP in 8 consecutive years, and is under contract until the end of the 2020 year.  The man needs to bounce back in 2016, and have several young pitchers take internal steps to compete, otherwise this team is going nowhere fast.  AP Photo/Ted S. Warren.

This team has not lived up to the billing with the Robinson Cano ‘era’ despite having great years from Felix Hernandez in 2014/2015 and Nelson Cruz clubbing 44 Jacks and hitting .302.

The latest year the problem was not the offensive so much as the Pitching.  Even Felix Hernandez saw his ERA climb to 3.53 in the 2nd half of the year after a stalwart beginning.

Young throwers Taijuan Walker being up and down – and James Paxton not being able to stay on the field has certainly hampered the club the last few seasons as well.

Hisashi Iwakuma is a Free Agent  and the club will should certainly throw down a Qualifying Offer his way this winter.  If he doesn’t take the deal at least you can draft a decent pick in return.

The goal would still to sign a few Free Agent pitchers.

Financially, and despite having Hernandez and Cano both making over $24 MIL in 2016, the team was actually left in good enough shape to sign some players.

With a great 3-4-5 attack squad in Cano, Cruz and Seager, the team looks to find a couple of leadoff style hitters, and definitely need to address the Catching situation.

1st base is also problematic with oft injured Logan Morrison.  The team should also seek out a CF to add to the nest.

Options

I think the team should Dexter Fowler or Denard Span for the CF position, and then look to fill the Catcher or 1B slot with either Chris Davis, or to a lesser extent – Matt Wieters.

Fowler and Span have both been proven to be able to handle leadoff duties, get on base and provide a spark to the rest of the lineups they have been in with the Cubs and Nationals respectively. 

Both guys will cost you in the $11 – $13 MIL a year range, however that is not bad for the production they can yield in return.

Chris Davis has the kind of power that would be needed to play at Safeco Field. Bringing in the reigning HR champ of the AL would make the offense incredibly tough 2 - 6 in the lineup.

Chris Davis has the kind of power that would be needed to play at Safeco Field. Bringing in the reigning HR champ of the AL would make the offense incredibly tough 2 – 6 in the lineup.

Okay, so bringing in Crush Davis may be a ‘pipe’ dream for the M’s, but if they were willing to dole out $20 MIL a season for 5 or 6 years, it would line up nicely with the Cano, Seager and Cruz contracts.

Could you imagine a lineup up that went Span/Fowler, Cano, Cruz, Davis, Seager and Trumbo as the top 6 next year.  The back end of the lineup 7 – 9 with Seth Smith, Brad Miller and whatever Catcher the team fields out there would be formidable?

Another way to go about the winter is for GM Jerry DiPoto to concentrate more on the Pitching aspect.  Maybe to sign another ace pitcher with Felix, and shore up the Bullpen, before solidifying the Catcher position.

Matt Wieters would be a great addition to the franchise regardless of the direction the team goes in.  He can also DH and play some 1B – depending on what the status of Logan Morrison and Mark Trumbo are doing.

Having Jesus Sucre and Mike Zunino as the backstopeer tandem is not cutting it anymore.  It was a glaring offensive deficiency.

If Wieters is not attainable, a cheaper option would be to ink Dioner Navarro.

Morrison and Trumbo both enter the last year of contract status with the team, and it may be time to part ways with one of them prior to the season even happening.

Perennial one year flier Franklin Gutierrez was one of Jack Z’s favorite guys in the world, and even with the limited AB the guy sees every year, he has put decent numbers.

The ‘Fly Swatter’ cracked 15 HRs and added 35 RBI in just 171 AB in 2015 – with a great .971 OPS. If he can be brought in on an incentive deal, then there is your 4th OF/Part time DH. Just know he will not be healthy for a full year. Sometimes guys thrive in a limited role.

If the team can’t land Iwakuma in any fashion, they still budget $15 MIL or so Dollars to chase down a quality #2 or #3 Starter.  Scott Kazmir, Ian Kennedy and former Mariner Doug Fister would potentially all be slightly cheaper than that, and could pitch like a #2 or #3 Starter.

Seattle has lost its Fernando Rodney problem as well.  The team has enough arms in the system to come up with a Relief Core with the addition of a few guys.  Spending money here is not the answer.

You must hope for internal improvements from Paxton, Walker, Seager (not saying he is not good, but there is another level there to reach) Ketel Marte and Brad Miller.

Marte may end up being one of those young players that emerges.  He is listed as a SS, and he may very well might win out the position over Miller, but he may also be a candidate to take over in CF if the team can’t attract a Centerfielder in the open market.

The AL West is a tough nugget to crack in the foreseeable future. The Astros have a bevy of young superstars, while the Rangers have a great mix of veterans and youngsters.  Then the Angels are always going to have a punchers chance with the likes of Mike Trout and Albert Pujols.

Look for the A’s to improve over the next 2 – 3 years when all of the players come up to the Majors from the deals they coordinated last winter.

DiPoto has his work cutout for him.  At least he has been left with a blank financial canvas – other than the best 4 – 5 players on the squad, that represent the nucleus of the team.

Robinson Cano enters year 3 of a 10 season contract. So far his arrival has not corresponded into a playoff birth. The Mariners now hold the longest playoff drought in the Major Leagues. The Second Baseman will need to return to a MVP caliber style of play if the franchise wants to be players in the AL West.

Robinson Cano enters year 3 of a 10 season contract. So far his arrival has not corresponded into a playoff birth. The Mariners now hold the longest playoff drought in the Major Leagues. The Second Baseman will need to return to a MVP caliber style of play if the franchise wants to be players in the AL West.

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***

A Big thanks goes out to our chief writer Hunter Stokes for preparing today’s feature post.

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Posted on November 5, 2015, in MLB Payroll and Contracts, MLB Teams State Of the Unions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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