Seattle was one of the surprise teams in the AL last year. They stuck with the Angels for most of the season and have added players that could conceivably get them over the hump and back into the playoffs for the first time since ARod left for Texas. Does Seattle have enough? Lets find out.
2007 Record: 88-74, 2nd in AL West
Key Additions: Erik Bedard SP, Carlos Silva SP, Miguel Cairo INF
Key Losses: Adam Jones OF, Jose Guillen OF, George Sherrill RP
1 Ichiro CF
2 Jose Vidro DH
3 Adrian Beltre 3b
4 Raul Ibanez LF
5 Richie Sexson 1b
6 Brad Wilkerson RF
7 Kenji Johjima C
8 Yuniesky Betancourt SS
9 Jose Lopez 2b
Offensive Grade: B-... The M's have some solid bats in the lineup of course led by the exemplary Ichiro, but they simply do not have the power or consistency that the other top teams in the AL roll out on a daily basis. Ibanez and Beltre are solid hitters that are highly underrated but there are also huge holes at 1b and RF. Between Sexson and Wilkerson, the M's can count on 350 strikeouts between their 5 and 6 hitters. The lack of hitting is offset by one of the best defensive teams in baseball and a solid pitching staff.
1 Erik Bedard
2 Felix Hernandez
3 Carlos Silva
4 Miguel Batista
5 Jarrod Washburn
CL - JJ Putz
Pitching Grade: A-... The Mariners traded for the "other" lefty, and Bedard will help compliment one of the most complete pitching staffs in the AL. Behind him will be Felix Hernandez, who at only 21 years old seems primed for a breakout year. While the names behind the big 2 won't blow anyone away, they are serviceable and know how to pitch. The Mariners also have possibly the best bullpen in the AL, led by All-Star closer JJ Putz. Between the improved starting rotation and the strong pen, the M's can shorten games and consistenly hold leads in the late innings.
Projected Outlook: The Mariners were a solid team before they added Bedard and now have to be considered definite contenders out west. It doesn't hurt that the Angels are already having big injury concerns with their starting pitchers and that the A's and Rangers will both be worse than last year. If they add one more big bat during the course of the season, the Mariners have to be considered on the same level as division kingpins Anaheim, but also AL leaders Boston, Cleveland and Detroit.
Projected Finish: 93-69, 1st or 2nd in the AL West