The Seattle Mariners finally, after a bleak period of about 5 years, have a bright future. Potentially ending a 6 year playoff drought this season and being a franchise with suddenly a nice stock of good young players and plenty of money everything seems to be looking up for the M’s. And I’d have to agree. Not since 1999 or 2000 has it felt this good to be a Mariner’s fan. Ever since A-Rod and Griffey left I’ve been losing interest in the club, wanting that star desperately to pique my interest again. Regardless of whether the Mariners make the playoffs this year or not (more on my feelings about that later) they have the players and the financial capacity to be there and make a run at the World Series in the near future.
Adam Jones seems to be that star player that this franchise has needed since Griffey and A-Rod left. True, Felix has been around now and is the ace that the team needs but he’s still too inconsistent and only plays every fifth day. I’m talking about the need for a star among the every day position players and Jones is it. Speed, power, average, arm — the kid has everything and it’s about time he was brought up to the Show. People want to sit there and say that Ichiro Suzuki is a great player and whatever. Ichiro’s a good hitter, I’m not going to sit here and say that he isn’t BUT the guy hits singles, mostly infield singles at that…he isn’t that great like everyone is making him out to be. Come back to me when his slugging percentage tops .500 (and my goodness, it shouldn’t be hard with his speed to have more doubles and triples) or his on base tops .400. For the team to throw $90 plus million out at him for the next five years is a mistake in my mind, but something that we can deal with.
The future looks good also because of guys like Brandon Morrow and Phillipe Aumont, the 2007 first round draft pick. Then you throw in bullpen pitchers like Mark Lowe, George Sherrill and J.J Putz. Those guys are rocks in the back end of the bullpen which is now set for years. I’d like to see Morrow and Aumont in the starting rotation next year with Miguel Batista moving to the bullpen as a long reliever or sixth starter and Jeff Weaver let go after the season’s completion. The offense/defense is looking good with Jose Guillen — whom hopefully gets an extension soon — Jones, Adrian Beltre, Ichiro, Yuniesky Betancourt, and Jose Lopez. However decisions need to be made in the coming offseason regarding Richie Sexson, Raul Ibanez, Ben Broussard (is he an every day first baseman?) and Jose Vidro. Sexson, Vidro and Ibanez need to be eliminated from the roster of the ’08 team in my honest opinion. Bring up Wladimir Balentien (DH) and Mike Morse (utility/IB) perhaps and sign a new first baseman or stick with Broussard.
The team has plenty of talent though, remains young and is in good position to make runs at the pennant in the coming years. It’s finally good to be a Mariner fan again.