Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 11/20/12
Big bats needed It’s the time of year for every Mariners fan to become the fantasy GM for their favorite team. I know that this is something I do every year, and my ideas never even come close to whomever is sitting in that position at the time. This year my thoughts may be a little on the outside of most Mariners fans, but at the same time, I honestly believe this is whats best for my team. So here are my top 5 things the M’s need to address to be successful next season. We already have a new cellar dweller coming in in the Astros, so I automatically have to take that off of my list. 5: Go hard at the Free Agent market This is something that we seem to miss out on every year, a big name free agent signing. Sure we had Adrian Beltre, and Chone Figgins, and we all remember how those turned out right? There’s something about Free Agents, Seattle, and bust, that go hand in hand, but with the walls coming in, I think we could land an All-Star this year. Prime objective: Josh Hamilton. This could kill two birds with one stone. A power hitter that we so very need, and we can take a huge piece away from the Rangers at the same time. This backfired with the Figgins deal, and Hamilton has a little downside to him with his off field life, but the upswing is far greater than the downside. We need to go hard at this one. The M’s GM will have to get his cards in order for 2013 4: Rotation needs We have a huge number one in Felix Hernandez, and a great number two in Jason Vargas (if the M’s don’t try to give up on him again). Blake Beavan is a more than capable three spot, who really came on after his demotion and promotion around the All-Star break. So this leaves numbers four and five with question marks, right? Wrong. Let’s get Danny Hultzen and Taijuan Walker up this year. They both will receive invites to Spring Training, and I’m sure Eric Wedge will be looking extremely hard at those two for the entire month, but there is no time like the present to make our move in the division. LA seems to be having a fire sale of sorts right now, Texas could be on the decline, and who knows if Oakland was a fluke or not last year. This could be our opportunity to go at the division with the best rotation this side of Detroit. 3: First Base Unless we can figure out a way to cram all 162 games into September, Justin Smoak has got to go. Here’s an idea, put Jesus Montero at 1st a few days a week, with Mike Carp and Smoak platooning there as well. Let John Jaso carry the bulk of the catching duties with Montero spelling him once a week, all the while waiting for the future behind the plate Mike Zunino to arrive. Montero’s bat is better than Smoak’s and Carp’s, thus the reason to want him in the lineup every day. Carp and Smoak are now disposable in my eyes, but without a market for an injury prone utility guy, and an underachieving 1b, I think we are stuck with them. Jaso is a capable 1b, but unfortunately, he is a key cog in the future of the Mariners, I don’t think. We need Montero in the lineup daily, and to have him DH will only make his fielding numbers go down in time, so I think 1b is the only option for him. 2: Outfield Here is another case of Mike Carp just not fitting in. I was going to say try to trade him to open up a bigger role for Trayvon Robinson, but instead, Robinson was dealt this morning to the Orioles for Robert Andino. This will probably anger a lot of you, but it’s time to move on from Franklin Gutierrez. Mike Saunders showed last year he is a good center fielder, and his bat was finally coming around last year too. Time for the M’s to give Jesus Montero a shot at first (Photo: Yahoo) Plus we still have my boy Casper Wells, and newbie Eric Thames as well. Too many players fighting for three spots. It’s time to consolidate. Get Guti on his way out, promote Wells to starting left fielder, put Saunders in center, and Thames out in right. That is an outfield with tons of range, speed, and the ability to keep themselves away from freak injuries. 1: Short stop I don’t know if our plans for this year at short were cemented a couple hours ago or not, but the addition of Robert Andino makes it look like Nick Franklin will not be joining the big league club at the start of 2013 now after all. Andino was a part of the Orioles team that surprised the baseball world last year, but his numbers that he’s bring to the table sure aren’t what we are looking for. A .211 average, with 7 homers and 28 RBI’s. Hell, if we wanted those kinds of numbers in our lineup we could’ve just started Chone Figgens at short, and kept Trayvon at the same time. But Jack Z seems to know what he’s doing, (I will leave the Hector Noesi part of the Montero deal out of this) so who am I to rip him for an off-season move. The M’s have a lot of players in place for a run in another year or two, but it’s this year I’m concerned with. With talent still down in the minors, it’s easy to say fast track them, but that often backfires and then we’re back to where we started from. All I know is this off-season will be key in the future of our team, and I’m looking forward to what Eric Wedge wants to bring to the table. So, Mr. Zduriencik, you have my total faith that these five things will be resolved before Spring Training. CLICK HERE CHECK OUT THE SEATTLE MARINERS CLUBHOUSE AT NWSB!
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