After a somewhat quiet offseason, the Seattle Mariners come into the 2018 season after a rough 2017 campaign, finishing 78-84 and tied for third in the AL West. Fans have to be excited however about the prospects of a group led by new acquisition Dee Gordon, along with Robinson Cano and Felix Hernandez. With a prospect group that continues to grow as well, this Mariners team is full of potential.
Seattle Mariners 2018 Season Preview
With the depth and quality MLB players that this team has (let’s not forget about Kyle Seager and Jean Segura as well), there is a reason to be optimistic. But, in what looks to be an improving AL West and a tough American League in general, the Mariners will have to settle for the small victory of getting to a record of 81-81 this year. But with that improvement, the Mariners still have questions to be answered. These will be covered here in the Last Word on Baseball Seattle Mariners 2018 Season Preview.
The Big Questions
Can Dee Gordon play the outfield?
After the acquisition of Gordon, the Mariners had two great second baseman with Cano and Gordon. One of them had to move, and the Mariners decided that Gordon will move to center field for the club. We have seen infielders move into the outfield before sometimes with success like Ian Desmond for the Texas Rangers in 2016, and we have seen it fail miserably like Miguel Sano for the Minnesota Twins. Seattle will be the latest to try this experiment. Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has said that he believes that Gordon is capable of winning multiple Gold Gloves. The question of whether or not this theory proves to be true will be answered over time.
Can Felix Hernandez become King Felix again?
Coming off of a season in which Hernandez had his worst ERA since his sophomore season in the league, a 4.36 in 16 starts, this could be a big year for Hernandez, one way or another. After agreeing to a massive 5 year, $135.5 million contract extension on February 8th, 2013, Hernandez has struggled. From 2014 to 2017, Hernandez has a 3.21 ERA on average. In order for the Mariners to get back on track, they are going to need a better performance from their star pitcher.
Can Ryon Healy finally become an everyday first baseman?
After acquiring him in a trade with the Oakland Athletics in the offseason, the Mariners are hoping that Ryon Healy can finally become an everyday player in MLB. After 2 decent seasons in Oakland, Healy can still have the breakout season that the Mariners are hoping for. The transition from third base to first base could work wonders for Healy defensively, but his bat will be the biggest question of the season for Healy. But the first baseman spot for the Mariners has been a hard spot for them to fill. Healy will hopefully be able to become the productive first baseman he can be, and that the Mariners need.
Final Thoughts: Wait And See
The Mariners could be an interesting team to watch this season. With a new lineup, things could really go either way for the team. The Mariners will either be a team that can surprise a lot of people or will severely undermine their own expectations for the season. For Mariners fans, it’s all about the waiting game to see if the hard work by Dipoto will pay off.