The Seattle Mariners are one of the more intriguing teams coming into the 2018 season. They made a few offseason moves that will help their team in multiple aspects of the word, have an offense that doesn’t quit and has a starting rotation that might not scare you on paper, but has the potential to be really good. The Mariners finished the 2017 season with a 78-84 record but at certain points in the year, it looked like they were going to finish the summer with an above .500 record. Do I think this team can contend for a division title this year? Absolutely not. But do I think they are capable of turning some heads this year and being at the .500 level for the duration of the season? It is absolutely possible.
A key factor to the Mariners success coming into the 2018 season is going to be the production from their starting rotation. The Mariners rotation is led by a King that goes by the name of Felix Hernandez. Hernandez is starting to age and you can tell that his arm is starting to wind down. The King had a lackluster 2017 season, but is still capable of great things. I am one of King Felix’s biggest fans and am a firm believer that he will have a huge bounce back year and will help his team compete this season. Hernandez is complimented by a southpaw from Canada in James Paxton who is coming off of a huge 2017 season. He finished the year with a 2.98 ERA to go along with a 12-5 record and is looking to build off of those numbers during this upcoming season. The Mariners also have veteran pitcher Mike Leake and a righty from Nicaragua in Erasmo Ramírez to cap off their rotation. As you can see, this staff does not jump out on paper and impress you like one of the Houston Astros would, but they have reliable arms and if they can all do their jobs they might surprise some people.
The way the Mariners are going to win games in 2018 are by scoring runs and by scoring them in bunches. They have the capability to do so as I think this Mariner offense is a top 10 offense in all of baseball. The Seattle bats are led by the Dominican superstar who continues to amaze us every year, Robinson Cano. Cano is one of the smoothest players we have ever seen and makes the game look like it is as simple as brushing your teeth. Cano is looking to build off of a productive season, one in in which he hit for a .280 BA, drove in 97 runs and hit 23 homers. Cano is not going to have to do it all by himself though. The Mariners got a huge offseason acquisition by getting one of the fastest guys in the game, Dee Gordon. Gordon is going to score 100 runs, hit for a .300 BA and swipe 60 bags in 2018, and he is going to do it with ease. What else could you ask for in a lead off hitter? The Mariners then come at you with one of the best DH’s in all of baseball, Nelson Cruz. Cruz is one of the more powerful men in all of baseball and is coming off a 2017 campaign where he hit 39 homers and drove in 119 runs. Cruz turns this offense from decent to dangerous and is not a guy you want to face when men are on the base paths. The Mariners also have a very athletic SS in Jean Segura, a power hitting catcher in Mike Zunino and an overall athlete and brother to Corey, Kyle Seager. This offense is deep and balanced and I think they are going to give a lot of pitchers a lot of problems all season long.
Overall, there is just something that attracts me to this Mariners team and I can’t seem to put my finger on it. It may be the fact that I am a huge Robinson Cano fan or the fact that this offense is one of the more underrated offenses in all of baseball, but I really do believe that this could be the surprise story of the 2018 Major League season. I like them finishing the season with a 85-77 record and mark this down, the Seattle Mariners will clinch the second AL Wild Card spot come seasons end. You heard it hear first.