SportsPickle is previewing each MLB team in the lead up to Opening Day 2010. Today:Seattle Mariners (2009: 85-77, 3rd in AL West)
STARTING PITCHING The Mariners significantly improved their starting rotation with the acquisition ofCliff Lee, giving Seattle an outstanding topof the rotation in Lee andFelix Hernandez. But after that the rotation is a major question mark:Ryan Rowland-Smith,Ian SnellandDoug Fister. If you're not familiar with Fister, he is a 26-year-old second-year player who is the reason Chip Caray gets out of bed every morning.
LINEUP IchiroandChone Figginsgive the Mariners some table setters at the top of the lineup. But there's really no one after them to serve the meal. Plus, no one would really want to eat anything that's cooked by a nut job likeMilton Bradleyanyway, not to mentionKen Griffey, Jr.,who is too old to trust in the kitchen anymore.Jose Lopezput up good numbers last year, but you get the sense that was a fluke like he just got lucky throwing some ingredients together. And then the rest of the lineup is even worse than this horrible dinner analogy that has gone on way too long as though it were a 20-course meal.
BULLPEN The Mariners were 35-20 in one-run games last year. That's a testament to the ability of their bullpen to hold leads and pitch well in tight situations. Unless those one-run games were scores like 13-12 and 19-18, of course, in which case they should all be ashamed of themselves.
BENCH The bench features free agent signingsEric Byrnes,Ryan Garko, andJosh Bard. None of those guys are anything to get excited about. And Bard's not even a poet, which is incredibly disappointing. In fact, considering he went to Texas Tech, he may not even be literate.
OVERALL The strength of the Mariners is their defense. And as we all know: defense wins championships. But that's only in football. And maybe basketball and hockey. But definitely not in baseball. Which is too bad for Seattle. Wrong sport. You know, I wouldn't be surprised if the Seahawks have really good pitching.