Found February 24, 2012 on The Victory Formation:
Heading into 2011, Mariners fans had tempered expectations. They won just 61 games in 2010, and most expected similar results in 2011. In that regards, the Mariners didn’t disappoint, winning just 67 games. The biggest issue in Seattle was the league’s worst offense, for the second year in a row. The pitching was solid and is also a strength of the farm system. Knowing these shortcomings and potential strengths, GM Jack Zduriencik made perhaps the biggest trade of the offseason. He traded 23-year-old SP Michael Pineda after a tremendous rookie debut to the Yankees. In the process, he picked up uber-hitting prospect Jesus Montero to help the anemic offense. Offensively this team has nowhere to go but up. The addition of Montero, who has been ready for over two years, is a step in the right direction. He should be starting right out of Spring Training. There is no doubt he will develop into an impact bat. The only question is will Seattle dick around and try to play him at catcher or just stick him in the DH slot and let him mash. In addition to Montero, a full season from Dustin Ackley and a healthy Justin Smoak should push the offense upward. This team still has several holes offensively, including a declining Ichiro who had his worst season as a professional in 2011, but the Mariners offense shouldn’t be comically woeful in 2012.

As far as the rotation goes, trading Pineda will move them back a step. That’s how rebuilding goes though. Felix Hernandez is the anchor, and should continue to be one of the league’s best starters. He’s followed in the rotation by a whole lot of “meh” though. Jason Vargas, Hisashi Iwakuma, Blake Beavan, and Charlie Furbush offer a lot of back-end rotation fodder. They’re just place holders though. The Mariners farm system is deep with potential impact starters, most importantly Danny Hultzen and James Paxton. Hultzen was Mariners first round pick (2nd overall) in last year’s draft and is expected to move through the system quickly. Paxton tore up high A and AA ball last year. Both of these smooth lefties should see Seattle by midseason. In 2011, the Mariners offered few bright spots, with the brightest being Pineda’s debut season. He’s now pitching in New York. On the field, 2012 should offer more bright spots, with the Mariners young players generating some excitement. That excitement won’t carry over to the standings though. The Angels and Rangers are clearly the class of the AL West. Seattle will probably finish at the bottom of the AL West again. However, with Hultzen, Paxton, and Taijuan Walker on the way to partner with a young offense led by Montero, Ackley, and Smoak, the Mariners could be on the verge of competing for a playoff spot in a year or two.

Seattle Mariners outfield predictions for 2012

M’s Need Angels in the outfield The Seattle Mariners have been without a true left fielder since Raul Ibanez went off to greener pastures.  Milton Bradley had the potential to bring a power bat in that position, but when that didn’t happen his .964 fielding percentage combined with his off the field antics were not worth the price tag and he was designated for assignment. Michael...

2012 Seattle Mariners fantasy baseball picks

A winning season from these guys would be a fantasy… It’s that time of year, folks. Fantasy baseball season is upon us. All the fantasy freaks are frothing at the mouth to pre-rank their teams and find out what position they draft in. Being a Seattle Mariners fan, I always look at the roster and see who has the best prospects of actually helping you put together a competitive...

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Winning at fantasy baseball doesn’t requiring owning the best players on only the best teams in the league. Knowing where to look for the players who will bring in the numbers needed to compete for a championship is what makes a winner. Teams like the Seattle Mariners have several high-caliber fantasy baseball assets on their 40-man roster and are the type of team in flux where...

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The Seattle Mariners are looking for any way to get some value out of Chone Figgins. Since joining the team, the 34-year-old has been one of the worst regulars in the game. So to salvage what’s left of his contract, the Mariners are making Figgins a leadoff hitter — again. It’s a last ditch effort to improve his value, though it’s unclear whether Figgins’ contract can be...

Player Profile #22: Felix Hernandez | SP | SEA

Felix Hernandez‘ follow up to his Cy Young season was a bit of a disappointment on the surface, but if you dig deep into his numbers he was as good as he’s ever been. First, he’s proven he’s a workhorse as he’s averaged 240 2/3 innings pitched over the last three seasons. While he’s lost a little velocity on his fastball in those seasons, his strikeout rate has climbed...

Behold: A ton of photos from Seattle Mariners spring training

The headline says it all. The Mariners began spring training in Peoria, Ariz., when pitchers and catchers reported over the weekend of Feb. 11. Position players started showing up throughout last week, and all the Mariners checked in this past weekend.   Visit for more Seattle news. Contact Nick Eaton at or on [...]

Minor league pitching coach Lance Painter expects young Mariners prospects to be confident, but not cocky on mound today

Just chatted with Lance Painter, the former big league pitcher who handled James Paxton and Erasmo Ramirez in Class AA last season. Painter has had the chance to observe both guys up close this spring -- along with Danny Hultzen and Taijuan Walker -- and does not expect any of the quartet to b overcome with nerves during today's intra-squad game. The game gets underway in about...

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There were a couple of key defensive plays that went largely unnoticed by casual observers of yesterday's game, but which did resonate with some members of the front office. How do I know this? I was standing right in front of them shooting photos. Anyhow, one came on the photo you see above, where catcher Jesus Montero slides to his let to block a pitch in the dirt from James...

Not much competition for starting position player jobs in Mariners camp

One of the things tough not to notice after this week's batting order announcements by the Mariners is just how few jobs in the starting nine are actually up for grabs in spring training. I mean, for a team that's lost 196 games in two years, you'd think there would be some positions wide open for the taking. But not this spring. The team's starting eight position...

Chone Figgins works 10-pitch walk, gets on base twice in Mariners intra-squad affair

PHOTO: Erasmo Ramirez lets fly with a pitch to Vinnie Catricala in today's intra-squad game. Some of the best stuff we witnessed in today's 3-3 intra-squad tie happened at the very beginning of the game. Chone Figgins came up in the bottom of the first inning and worked a 10-pitch walk against Danny Hultzen. Figgins fouled off three two-strike pitches before finally taking...

Mariners' young pitchers unveiled

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Yankees sign injured former Mariners pitcher David Aardsma

The Associated Press reports: “Injured pitcher David Aardsma has agreed to a $500,000, one-year contract with the New York Yankees. The 30-year-old missed all of 2011. He started the season on the disabled list following surgery on the labrum of his left hip on Jan. 3 last year, felt arm soreness during a rehabilitation assignment [...]
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