Monday, March 28, 2011

MARINERS: Lineup predictions

By Matthew Carlson

This Friday, it finally returns.

No, I’m not talking about the Sonics, or Seahawks emerging from the lockout, or the goal scoring Sounders of old…

No, this Friday, our beloved Mariners will take to the baseball diamond once more, in Oakland against the A’s, on April 1st.

Now it would probably help to know who will be playing for our Mariners in 2011.  So, I've put together two lineups to show what I believe will be the Opening day lineup and the late September lineup. Who knows?  Maybe the Mariners could pull a VCU and end up a surprise competitor in the AL West. For now, here are my predictions.  


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3B-Chone Figgins
1B-Justin Smoak
LF-Milton Bradley
DH-Jack Cust
C-Miguel Olivo
CF-Michael Saunders
2B-Jack Wilson
SS-Brendan Ryan

​3B-Chone Figgins
​CF-Franklin Gutierrez
​1B-Justin Smoak
​DH-Jack Cust
​LF-Milton Bradley
​2B-Dustin Ackley
C-Adam Moore
SS-Brendan Ryan

​#1-Felix Hernandez
​#2-Jason Vargas
​#3-Doug Fister
​#4-Erik Bedard
​#5-Micheal Pineda

​Some things of the Mariners will never change.  Ichiro is one of them.  You can probably expect him to be in a Mariner uniform for the rest of his Hall of Fame career, and ignore any ridiculous trade rumors you here.

​Jack Wilson and Milton Bradley wil possibly be gone mid-season.  While it has been said Wilson is merely “keeping the seat warm” for esteemed prospect Dustin Ackley, Bradley is an interesting scenario.  If he has a great year, the Mariners may try to resign him as the full time DH for a fraction of his 10 million dollar 2011 price tag.  If he struggles, the Mariners will try to unload him to make room for regular playing time for Michael Saunders.  Both Wilson and Bradley have had terrific Spring Trainings, and I can see both players having bounce back years.  

Franklin Gutierrez will probably start the season on the DL with stomach issues, which opens the door for Saunders to try to show he deserves an everyday job.  If Saunders struggles though, he could be used primarily as a bench option, or might be sent back down to AAA.

The catcher situation is puzzling to say the least for Seattle.  You have the 2 veterans, Josh Bard and Miguel Olivo.  Then you have the young developing Adam Moore.  Moore will probably occupy the backup catcher role, while Olivo takes the starting gig.  This unfortunately leave Josh Bard to be sent to the minors (it’s extremely unusual to have a team with 3 catchers on the 25 man roster).  However, if the M’s fall out of the race, they will look to get Adam Moore more time behind the plate.

The rotation is almost set in stone. Reigning Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez will take the ball opening day, and will be followed by Vargas, Fister, Bedard, and Pineda.  I actually think Bedard could have a great bounce back season, maybe 12 to 15 wins with an ERA around 3.50.  Personally, I think Pineda needs some tuning up in the Minors, and that the spot should go to Luke French, but signs are pointing to Pineda making the rotation.

Well, there you have it.  If you have any thoughts leave them in the comments section.

Go M’s.

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