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Here’s What We DO Have In 2008! Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Posted by mrgenre in Mariners, Offseason.
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It was recently announced by one of our own papers that Seattle is one of the last four franchises in baseball to have never made the series, and while the Cubbies have certainly been waiting longer, I’ve been waiting my whole life, so 2008’s gotta be it, right?

There’s a lot to breakdown over the next few weeks of the offseason, so let’s get right to it. Who do we have set for 2008?

CATCHER

At catcher, Kenji’s still shining bright in my book. His ’07 stats came up short of his rookie year, but he didn’t miss by much and caught 9 fewer games. Burke, however, was the big surprise after showing off at spring training and gave the M’s a chance to spell their starter for a change. Burke hit over .300 this year in 50 games and will likely continue his position at backup in ’08.

FIRST BASE

We’ll come back to first base on another post…

SECOND BASE

Jose Lopez was our one true weak link offensively last season. He showed signs of laziness both from the plate and on the field and despite landing a four-year deal from the club, will not be berated in this blog. All he really needs is a winter to spend some time taking care of his family and maybe a veteran second baseman who might challenge him for some playing time next season for motivation.

SHORTSTOP

Short is looking good. Yuni played strong again this season, putting up almost identical numbers as 2006, and while he continued to struggle a bit in the field (23 errors), he had enough amazing plays to more than make up for any shortcomings. Let’s remember that at .289 Yuni’s still putting up numbers 30 points higher than we ever would have thought from a defensive-minded youngster. Now, if we can just take advantage of that speed of his…

THIRD BASE

Beltre looked like his old self last season, clubbing 26 dingers and pulling in 99 RBIs. While he will probably never top that last season with L.A., he’s had three seasons of consistent improvement. Besides, a guy who can pull off plays at third like he does could start while only hitting .250 and knocking in 50 runs a year.

LEFT FIELD

Left field will likely feature Raul in some capacity, but the whole DH/1B/LF role has yet to be decided. With Guillen likely on the outs in right, Raul will probably stick here if nothing significant happens. As to what I’d like to see, you’ll just have to wait for my next blog (we call that a “teaser” in the business).

CENTER FIELD

And of course in center, I don’t really have to elaborate, do I? I think like all Mariners’ fans, I’m just happy to see him remain the center of the franchise, even if the contract seems overpriced to the rest of baseball. Personally, I’m surprised he didn’t pull in more cash than he did what with basically bringing Mariners baseball to an entire nation. No folks, Sasaki didn’t do it on his own…

RIGHT FIELD

I’ll come back to right field later as well…

DESIGNATED HITTER

At DH Bavasi lucked out, and Vidro impressed all. And while he definitely looked patient and imposing at the plate, let’s not forget that he’s the only player who took that mentality away from those Pentland teaching sessions. Look for him to astound for another season or two if we’re smart enough to keep him around. It’s hard to say what might happen with first base open and Raul struggling in the field, though.

PITCHING STAFF

And of course, there’s our lovely pitching staff. I’ll quickly mention Putz, who quietly dominated baseball and didn’t receive much recognition nationally until well after the All-Star break. And then there’s Felix, who struggled, but still leads us on with that occasionally phenomenal performance (even if at times this season, it was only an inning or two). As for the rest of the pitching staff, we obviously have some other keepers, but as it’s our main need this winter, I’ll save that too.

Think of this as post 1 of 2…