Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mariners make waves: Figgins in, Lee next?

Last year, with a formula of great defense and squeezing as many runs from an anemic lineup as possible, the Seattle Mariners improved the team’s win total by twenty-four.  Among the challenges faced by first year skipper Don Wakamatsu were the league’s worst on-base percentage and unreliable starting pitching after the Felix.  And imagine HOW unreliable the third through fifth starters might have been without the strong defense.  Already this off-season, we’ve seen Jack Z jettison underperforming, over-compensated players, freeing up room for him to make some serious moves to help the team take another step forward in 2010. 

The addition of Figgins gives the team a second leadoff hitter – one who walked over a hundred times last season – to bat behind Ichiro.  Some have hinted at Ichiro being moved to third with Figgins leading off, but I have my doubts as Ichiro doesn’t hit for extra bases as often as a typical hitter in the three hole.  Something tells me the Mariners are not done adding bats yet, either.

Now to the pitching:  With a rotation that already features King Felix and might end up with Cliff Lee as well, the Mariners remaining arms (Morrow, Silva, Rowland-Smith as well as the trade pickups at the end of the season, and even a possible return of either Bedard or Washburn), the rotation could be a real strength.  And it is a helluva lot easier to attract top pitching talent to the friendly confines of Safeco Field, combined with the outstanding defense the Mariners have been playing. 

Now the main question:  Will the M’s be good enough to challenge for the division?

Local News | Mariners make waves: Figgins in, Lee next | Seattle Times Newspaper

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Sunshine on Discovery Bay

Sunshine on Discovery Bay
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