Boy, can the Seattle Mariners hit. Boy, is their starting rotation going to be an issue.The Mariners have a fearsome group of hitters, featuring the likes of Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano and Jean Segura, to name a few.
Whether Segura can repeat the success he had last year is beside the point. Seattle’s strength this season is and will be their hitting.
Their weakness, at least on paper, resides in their rotation.
Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma, the number one and two starting pitchers, are 30 and 35-years-old, respectively, and both are coming off not-so inspiring seasons in 2016.
And at the Nos. 3-5 spots, you have a question mark in James Paxton. He’s a talented player, yes, but he has never thrown more than 122 innings in his career. Then you have two players acquired in the offseason in Drew Smyly and Yovani Gallardo.
Smyly was once a highly-regarded prospect, even being the headliner in a three-team deal that sent David Price to the Tampa Bay Rays. He’s performed at a high level, but after a down season in Tampa – 4.88 ERA, 32 home runs allowed – he was made expendable.
Gallardo has been on the decline since his 2013 season with the Brewers. His fastball has little life and it especially showed last season with the Baltimore Orioles, as he had an uninspiring 5.42 ERA along with a 1.58 WHIP.
The Mariners certainly have talent on the offensive end, but the question marks in the rotation have me hesitant to become a believer that they are ready to make the jump to a playoff contender. Will they prove me wrong? We’ll see. But I’m skeptical.
By Robert Murray