Let’s start with the obvious positions. Robinson Cano is your second baseman for $240 million reasons. Barring an injury, Kyle Seager is at third because he is Seattle’s best returning hitter. Rounding out the semi-confident picks is Brad Miller, who should be the shortstop unless he has a horrible spring.
Nick Franklin, are you willing to play shortshop again? Have you thought about the outfield?
I know what some of you are thinking. That is it? Those are the only positions that are determined at this point for the Mariners?
Certainly the rest of the depth chart has names that are penciled in. However, let’s be honest here. The rest of the positions on this Mariners team may be up for grabs.
First base? Take your pick from Justin Smoak, Corey Hart, Logan Morrison and possibly Jesus Montero. One of those guys could solidify the position, but all four of them could struggle. Hart and Morrison could spend time in the outfield but their history of knee issues may plant them at first base.
DH? See first base above. Same story, different position.
Outfield? Dustin Ackley hit better in the latter part of 2013, but he is still regarded as a subpar defender. Michael Saunders is a better defender but he is also a 27-year-old with a .224 career batting average. Yikes. Franklin Gutierrez is back, but he is an injury waiting to happen. Abraham Almonte showed promise in his call-up, but he is still a prospect. As mentioned, Hart and Morrison may do some roaming of the outfield grass.
Catcher? In theory this is Mike Zunino‘s job, but he hit an unspectacular .214 in 2014. The Mariners just brought back Humberto Quintero as insurance, but let’s just say the payout on that policy is not going to be high.
Ready for a spring training with a lot of questions? Good, because that is what the Mariners are going to experience. Lots of options, lots of opportunities.
There are few positions that can be predicted with a great deal of confidence. For a team that is trying to make some noise, this is not particularly good news.