We’ve survived the holidays. We got through the worst snowstorm that’s blown through the Pacific Northwest in decades. We also bore witness to the unapologetically boring Super Bowl. After all that, we’re SO ready for some great news. Bull Nation, I’ve got some: The 2019 Seattle Mariners are ready to bring back great baseball. Here’s how:
WE’VE CUT UNNECESSARY PAYROLL
If you remember anything about last year’s Seattle nine, you remember these big names that have since moved on from Safeco Field: Edwin Diaz, Jean Segura, Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano, James Paxton and Ben Gamel. While all those players provided some big-league power to the roster, they also ate into our budget. It’s safe to say that the roster moves GM Jerry Dipoto made has the 2019 squad $20 million lighter in overall salaries owed. Even in government, they say “$20 million here, $20 million there, sooner or later it adds up to real money!”
Replacing all that talent took talent. We’ve brought in new faces in sluggers Edwin Encarnacion and Jay Bruce. First baseman Carlos Santana alone brings 24 home runs, 28 doubles and an On-Base-Percentage of .352! I don’t want to get into many statistics here, better minds will tackle those.
ICHIRO’S LAST GAMES
We all know Ichiro. We’ve known him since 2001. He wowed us with his consistent outfield play, aggressive baserunning and who could forget his batting stance, let alone his TONS of base hits? The Mariners legend signed a one-year minor league contract with an invitation to spring training in Peoria AZ, where the Mariners are right now. The man is 45 years old, and from the looks of it still moves like he did when he was 27.
Ichiro’s plan is to make the expanded 28-man roster for Seattle’s season openers against Oakland, which will be held in Tokyo. He plans to retire for good after that series. Just hope he’s healthy, otherwise we may have already seen him play for the last time.
EXCITING FACES, NEW AND OLD
The big names returning for 2019 include fan-favorite pitcher Felix Hernandez, third baseman Kyle Seager and stellar outfielder Mitch Haniger. However, they’re not the only ones coming to bat this season. We mentioned Edwin Encarnacion, Jay Bruce and Carlos Santana…
…now get ready for the exciting incoming talent! Outfielder Mallex Smith (acquired from Tampa Bay in the Mike Zunino trade) is expected to be our center fielder of the future, walking (well, we hope running!) in the footsteps of Ken Griffey Jr. He brings speed on the base paths with 40 stolen bases last year, and a fantastic batting average from last year (.296)
Also wearing Mariner blue this year is former Yankees top prospect Justus Sheffield, who we got when we dealt them James Paxton. He’s an electric starting pitcher who we need to take care doesn’t get overworked. But given some time in Triple-A Tacoma with the Rainiers, he could light up Major League hitters very soon.
That’s your condensed preview of the Mariners this year! We’ve got a lot to prove, but you and I are looking forward to some exciting baseball at T Mobile Park! (it’s gonna be a while before I stop saying Safeco Field)
~Ben On The Bull