With the remainder of the roster set to join pitchers and catchers on Tuesday, it’s the perfect time to look ahead to the 2016.
Seattle (76-86, 4th 12 GB, out Lloyd McClendon in Scott Servais)
Key Additions:Ryan Cook, Logan Kensing, Steve Cishek, Adam Lind, Evan Scribner, Wade Miley, Nori Aoki, Justin De Fratus, Steve Clevenger, Chris Iannetta, Leonys Martin, Joaquin Benoit, Anthony Bass, Nathan Karns
Key Departures:Mark Trumbo, Tom Wilhelmsen, Logan Morrison, Danny Farquhar, Brad Miller, Willie Bloomquist, Joe Beimel, Kevin Gregg
Reds Dates May 20-22
Reds and Mariners fans certainly celebrated the election of Ken Griffey Jr. to the Baseball Hall of Fame, but have also spent their off-season bemoaning the 2015 season. The lack of results led for the dismissal of the GM and manager Lloyd McClendon as new GM Jerry Dipoto brought his former assistant with the Angels, Scott Servais, to be the new Mariners skipper. Servais is a former big league catcher with stints that include the Astros and Cubs in the 90’s, but he has no managerial experience before taking this job.
He’ll have some strong pieces to work with in pitcher Felix Hernandez and slugging DH Nelson Cruz. Dipoto made plenty of changes to revamp a franchise that is looking for it’s first trip to the World Series and first venture into the playoffs since 2001 when they won a record-tying 116 games. It won’t be easy though as the Astros, Angels, and Rangers should make the road to win the West a difficult task.
Along with Hernandez, the Mariners were able to retain Hisashi Iwamuka, who had initially signed a deal with the Dodgers before the deal fell through. Iwamuka became only the second Japanese player and fifth Mariner to throw a no-hitter when he did so against the Orioles in August.
The back-end of the bullpen will showcase Steve Cishek as the team’s closer, after he lost the same role with the Marlins after a shaky start last year before being traded to the Cardinals. Joaquin Benoit will be his set-up man and has posted an impressive resume for someone who has never been named an All-Star. Benoit does have closing experience as well when he took over for Jose Valverde in Detroit, converting 24-of-26 saves.
Cruz led the Mariners in nearly every offensive category including average (.302), homers (44), and RBI (93). Robinson Cano led the team in hits, but saw his average (.287) drop to its lowest since 2008 with the Yankees, while setting a career high in strikeouts (107). Kyle Seager also contributed a career best 26 homers while manning the hot corner last season.
The Mariners also went out and acquired a few familiar faces to Reds fans as one-time Brewers Adam Lind and Nori Aoki will now be making their homes in the Pacific-Northwest.
Here’s a look at what the Mariners could look like when they come to Great American Ballpark in late May. (as of 2/22/16)
Starting Rotation(2015 stats):
1. Felix Hernandez (18-9, 3.53 ERA, All-Star)
2. Hisashi Iwamuka (9-5, 3.54 ERA, No-Hitter)
3. Wade Miley (11-11, 4.46 ERA w/Red Sox)
4. Taijuan Walker (11-8, 4.56 ERA)
5. James Paxton (3-4, 3.90 ERA)
In competition: Nathan Karns, Vidal Nuno, Mike Montgomery
Closer: Steve Cishek
Set-up man: Joaquin Benoit
C. Chris Iannetta (92 games played, .188 avg, 10 HR, 34 RBI w/Angels)
1B. Adam Lind (149 GP, .277 avg, 20 HR, 87 RBI w/Brewers)
2B. Robinson Cano (156 GP, .287 avg, 21 HR, 79 RBI)
3B. Kyle Seager (161 GP, .266 avg, 26 HR, 74 RBI)
SS. Ketel Marte (57 GP, .283 avg, 2 HR, 17 RBI)
LF. Nori Aoki (93 GP, .287 avg, 5 HR, 26 RBI, 14 SB w/Giants)
CF. Leonys Martin (95 GP, .219 avg, 5 HR, 25 RBI, 14 SB w/Rangers)
RF. Seth Smith (136 GP, .248 avg, 12 HR, 42 RBI)
DH. Nelson Cruz (152 GP, .302 avg, 44 HR, 93 RBI, All-Star)
C. Steve Clevenger, Mike Zunino, Steve Baron
1B. Jesus Montero
IF. Chris Taylor, Luis Sardinas
3B/OF. Shawn O’Malley
OF. Franklin Gutierrez, Boog Powell, Stefen Romero