The Seattle Mariners surprised much of the baseball community when it finished the 2014 MLB season with an 87-75 record. They finished 3rd in the AL west behind the Anaheim Angels and the Oakland Athletics. However, Mariners fans should be extremely excited about what 2015 holds. Recently, the Mariners have been buyers in the free agent and trade market. Last year’s acquisition of perennial All-Star and MVP candidate second baseman Robinson Cano set the tone for the Mariner’s future moves. Most notably, the Mariners have just acquired Nelson Cruz on a four- year, $58 million deal. Cruz led the American League in home runs last season with 40 and should greatly assist the Mariners in improving on their dismal slugging percentage of .376 to rank 21st in the majors.
Additionally Seattle also resigned Kyle Seager to a whopping $100 million deal in the offseason after Seager won his first gold glove and made his first all-star appearance in 2014. The playoffs are not out of reach for this bunch, considering the unloading that Oakland has done this offseason. If they can reach the post season, it will be the first time they have done so in over a dozen years (2001)
Seattle’s pitching staff is lead by “King” Felix Hernandez, who led the National League in ERA in 2014. A starting staff full of young arms also backs him up. No pitcher in their projected starting rotation had an ERA of over 3.85 last season. While they lack any dominant arms other than King Felix, the starters should be able to deliver strong outings for them. It will be interesting to see the development of Taijuan Walker. Walker started 5 games for Seattle, and had an ERA of 2.61. Walker could become that dependable number 2 that Seattle is looking for.
The Mariners had the best bullpen ERA in the majors last season. However, they only have one lefthander on the staff. They will look to bring up pitcher Carson Smith from triple-A this season, but they will need to bolster their bullpen with some solid left handed pitching to make their way towards becoming a complete baseball club.
If their staff can stay healthy, the Mariners will become extremely dangerous this season. They are finally starting to see their young talent come around, and can really make a push for the AL West crown. As long as pitchers James Paxton and Roenis Elias can stay healthy, we could be looking at the Cinderella of the season. The addition of Cruz is likely to give the team an offensive jolt, which was their biggest problem last season. This could become a very exciting team to watch this season, the cheapest of which will come on April 14th at Los Angeles where Mariners tickets average $50.31 with a get-in price of just $9.