Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 2/1/13
Don’t give up hope just yet There’s no denying the futility surrounding the Seattle Mariners baseball club. Hell, it’s not just surrounding the Mariners…it surrounds Seattle sports in general. After so many consecutive losing seasons, one can only be hopeful for so long that things will turn around. While the turnaround still hasn’t come for the Mariners just yet, this season means a lot to the future of this ball club. There are veterans trying to keep their careers alive with a hail mary prayer that their stint with the Mariners resurrects their careers. There are coaches and a manager who may have their time in Seattle on the line. There are young players who are no longer rookies and expected to produce or else. Yes, it’s come to this. We’ve seen the situation arise many times over the years as Seattle sports fans. You can’t help, though, thinking that it may actually be different this season. Let me tell you why. The new guys Jack Z and the Mariners put in some work this offseason in acquiring some new players. While we are still without a big ticket player, the front office went out and grabbed some serious help for this struggling lineup. Kendrys Morales could bring some much needed run production to Seattle The biggest 2 moves this offseason will immediately help the lineup and scoring production. While the Mariners had to give up fan favorite Jason Vargas in order to get Kendrys Morales from the Angels, they still bolstered their lineup while not crippling their pitching staff. And as much as we loved John Jaso, there’s no denying that Michael Morse is an immediate upgrade at ANY position in the outfield offensively. Then you have serious veteran journeymen  OF Jason Bay, 2B Robert Andino, P Jeremy Bonderman, 1B/DH Raul Ibanez, and 1B Mike Jacobs all looking to make one last dash at greatness before their time is up. The young guys Seattle is laced with young talent from Seattle all the way to their rookie team. While we look forward to those players making the big league squad one day, we can’t help but take notice of what is sitting in front of us: lots of young big league talent. While they haven’t quite made as big an impression as they’d like, C Jesus Montero, 3B Kyle Seager and 2B Dustin Ackley (among others) are all looking to make 2013 their coming out season. The Mariners also have one of the top minor league systems at the moment. While the product on the big league level leaves much to be desired still, the lower ranks of the ball club have experienced thriving success with the new wave of future major leaguers. While I’ll touch on pitching next, the 2 biggest position players we can look forward to seeing are SS Nick Franklin and C Mike Zunino. The big FIVE Yes, we’ve been told over and over and over again about the “Big Three” – the trio of young Mariners pitchers who came up through the minors together. But Danny Hultzen, James Paxton and Taijuan Walker are not alone anymore. Brandon Maurer and Andrew Carraway have both pitched their way into the conversation. With the loss of Vargas and the not-so-stellar 2 through 5 pitching slots in the Mariners starting rotation, these 5 young pitchers have a serious chance to make a splash immediately when it counts the most. While all 5 are being touted, expect probably 3 to crack the majors this season. Hey, there’s plenty of room for em. The Big Three got bigger: add into the mix Brandon Maurer Big changes The Mariners have made some big changes for this season. There will be no more excuses for lack of power and home runs. The fences in Safeco are being moved in to help ease that problem. The team is also putting in a gigantic, new, high definition video screen. No matter how good or bad the team may be, we will all get to see it unfold even brighter and clearer than before. Yikes. Major League Baseball threw the Mariners and the AL West a curve this year that will spur a few changes as well. With the new re-alignment, the Houston Astros are joining the division. Fresh out of the NL Central, the Astros will look to finish closer than the 42 games out of first place they finished last year. (Mariners finished 19 GB in AL West) And lastly, my favorite change. The front office decided to do what we’ve been asking for years: open up the checkbook. While it hasn’t been used quite appropriately as of yet, we can all be at least a little less frustrated with the fact that the front office has put some serious effort into acquiring big ticket players. The Mariners supposedly went hard after Josh Hamilton. There are reports claiming and denying that, so take it with a grain of salt. The team ALSO put together one hell of a package for superstar OF Justin Upton, who used his no-trade clause to avoid ending up in the Pacific Northwest. Now if we could just get the team to back off their Seattle Arena stance. The sky is the limit There’s nowhere else to go from here but up, Mariners fans. You can’t do worse than finish last and you can’t have as bad of offensive numbers as we have seen with this team in recent years. Yes, we demand more wins. Yes, we want to love this team again like we all once did. And yes, it takes time. The time for preaching about time and patience is over. With this collection of players combined with the players waiting in the wings to get to the big club, this team can only get better. It can only get better. IT HAS TO GET BETTER! CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE SEATTLE MARINERS CLUBHOUSE AT NWSB!
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