Sunday, May 2, 2010

MARINERS: Lee unlikely to remain in Seattle after 2010

By Kyle Fosnes

After the excitement of Cliff Lee’s superb pitching performance on the Safeco Field mound Friday, Seattle was treated with some displeasure regarding one of their aces.

Lee’s agent, Darek Braunecker, announced on Saturday that a deal to keep Lee in a Seattle uniform after the 2010 season was unlikely. ESPN’s Buster Olney reported Braunecker stating, “I wouldn’t anticipate a deal [with the Mariners].” Cliff Lee is likely to be the most coveted free agent in the 2010 off season.

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This is highly unfortunate for M’s fans, who witnessed one of the best outings of the season on Friday. Lee threw seven scoreless innings while striking out eight batters in a twelve inning loss to the Texas Rangers.

The statement solidifies two key points of focus for the Mariners going forward; (1) make the most of the time you have with one of the best pitchers in baseball in a Mariner uniform, and (2) establish a more consistent offense that can power the M’s to the top of the AL West and into October.

So what are the future options for Trader Jack and the Mariners front office? Well, seeing as how the pitching staff has been better than expected through the month of April, the answer lies in finding more offense. Through 25 games, the M’s have been outscored by only four runs, so the team has been in almost every game played. However, playing baseball this way will turn a 162-game season into a much longer and more difficult ordeal.

The Mariners should be looking to add offense, but don’t want to modify the defensive alignment that has served them well so far this season. As of Sunday, Jermaine Dye is still a free agent, and has the ability to provide the Mariners with a solid DH, bringing both power and consistency to the lineup. Also, if Mr. Z is looking to make a blockbuster deal, a strong push could be made for Brewers’ slugger Prince Fielder. Prince would be a strong addition to the Mariners and has connections with Zduriencik who drafted Fielder back in 2002.

Keep posted to Next Season Sports as the M’s welcome the high-powered Rays to town for a three-game series beginning on Tuesday.

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