Mariners Analysis

Monday, March 31, 2008


A lot of fans are really excited for this season, and part of the enthusiasm is rooting for a playoff caliber team. There is no question the Seahawks have a lot of fans come fall because many think they have a shot at going to the playoffs and even reaching the Super Bowl.

What I find troubling about the team is not the enthusiasm, but the source. Mainly, that a big part of the playoff fever is based on the fact you don't think the other three teams are very good.

That's a bad way to build a team, or excitement. Think of the marketing campaign... "We suck less than the other teams" or "If the Cardinals can do it, so can we!"

Personally, no thanks. I like rooting for a team for all kinds of reasons, but not because I think the division sucks and mediocrity will prevail.

So I'm excited for the season, but I want this team to be GOOD. I want Felix to become the star we know he can be. I want Ichiro to make a case for MVP. I want Putz to be the best closer in the game.

What I don't want is my team to have is a 1st basemen hitting .220 while playing terrible defense. Or my manager running a "platoon" in RF while Ibanez plays every day. Or for a DH and his vesting option to be a story.

So I'm torn. I see reasons for optimism, but am concerned about how the team will handle problems based on past experience. I have no way of knowing if Sexson, Vidro and Lopez will all rebound, but there is a chance one of them might struggle? And if they do, how will the team and its rookie manager handle it?

That's what's keeping me from believing this is a 90+ win team that can compete for the World Series. That should be the goal of the team, and right now, the way the team is built, I don't see it.

The Angels have a better farm system, owner and manager. I'm not being negative, those are just facts. Over the course of the season, they will likely win out. I also think the A's won't suck as bad as the "experts" think.

I'm stuck on 86 wins. I think there are scenarios that support higher and lower totals, but that's where I stand. I know many think it's crazy. How could an 88 win team add a pitcher like Bedard and not get better. But playoff teams fix problems during the offseason, and I feel Bavasi ignored the DH logjam and we have too many question marks on offense and defense to ignore.

Remember when this team won 93 games in 2003 and fell off the face of the earth the next season with largely the same group? In sports, staying the same rarely leads to improvement unless you have a really young team. (And the Mariners last year were one of the oldest.)

Not predicting doom and gloom, but this team needs to be improved before it can start talking about the playoffs.

Mid-80's feel about right. No powerhouse in the division, so the team will be in the race all season. Plenty of reasons to watch the game.

Let's see who's right.