The regular season opens March 29th. That’s a mere week from Thursday. It’s not clear the stars have all aligned for the Mariners roster. Certainly things were complicated by the long line of walking wounded.
Here’s what we think we know at this point
Rotation-James Paxton, Mike Leake, almost certainly Marco Gonzales, likely Felix. Though the M’s will only carry four starters to begin the season, due to the schedule, Erasmo Ramirez’ spot will have to be filled by someone. I’m guessing Ariel Miranda.
Bullpen-Edwin Diaz, Juan Nicasio, Nick Vincent, Mark Rzepczynski, James Pazos, David Phelps and two more guys from Dan Altavilla, Casey Lawrence, and Shawn Armstrong. I’m leaning toward Altavilla and Lawrence. An eight man relief staff.
Outfield-Though Ben Gamel is progressing with his oblique injury, the M’s won’t rush him. They will likely carry only four outfielders, all comments regarding Ichiro to the contrary. Ichiro Suzuki, Dee Gordon, Ryan Haniger, and Guillermo Heredia.
Infield-Ryon Healy, Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager, Jean Segura.
Designated Hitter-Nelson Cruz
Catchers–Mike Zunino, Mike Marjama
On The Bubble
Utility infielder–Andrew Romine, Gordon Beckham and Taylor Motter have all had great camps. I would have given the nod to Romine ten days ago because of his versatility and performance at the plate. But he was caught up in the epidemic of injuries the M’s suffered through. My pick is Motter. He has also had a very good spring, can play outfield and infield which gives him the edge over Beckham.
Daniel Vogelbach–The first baseman/DH has had a fabulous spring, slashing .400/.518/.867 with six doubles and four homers during camp. Everyone from writers to Scott Servais noted his looser demeanor. He’s just more comfortable in his skin, and is doing the things the M’s thought he would do when they traded for him in 2016. But the M’s are committed to Ryon Healy at 1B and Nelson Cruz isn’t going anywhere. What to do with Vogelbach? He may have a role with the M’s until they add that fifth starter according to MySports NW. But after that, who knows?
What a yawner. Little has happened during the warm up to the regular season to excite me. Some players have had interesting springs–notably Gonzales and Casey Lawrence on the pitching side, Dee Gordon in the field, and Kyle Seager and Vogelbach at the plate. But the litany of injuries, and the lack of action by the M’s haven’t exactly primed my pump.
Honestly, it’s been tough to watch the Twins make late additions to their teams, while the M’s sit on their hands, suffer injuries, cross their fingers and hope for the best. Especially given the Twins were a wild card team last year. Maybe it will all work out, but the 2018 pre-season hasn’t inspired me. This doesn’t look like a team that will fare well against a very good Cleveland team in the opening series. I’m hoping I’m wrong.