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The Mariners and their fans know that this season is over, even though there are still 16 more days until the final M’s game. But fans are wondering, “what will next year bring?”
This year has seen the major league debuts of Mike Zunino, Taijuan Walker, James Paxton, Nick Franklin, and Brad Miller; so what is next year going to bring for this team? The five-man rotation is looking pretty interesting right now. Im predicting that the Mariners will have Walker, Paxton and either Ramirez or Hultzen if they don’t sign a big time pitcher in the off-season (not friggin likely).
And what about Abraham Almonte? Since Almonte has gotten the September call-up he has batted .276 and has shown both the fans and the coaches that he has unbelievable speed. So where will Almonte fit in the Mariners lineup next year?
Right now, here’s who I’m predicting will be in the outfield for the M’s; Ackley, Almonte, Saunders, and Guti (if the M’s decide to give him another chance). The Mariners infield for next year looks the same as it is now, with perhaps the exception of Kendrys Morales. Now, for the catchers, all I see is Zunino. But if Jack Z is smart he will bring back John Jaso, or sign a young experienced catcher to help Zunino. He may even keep Jesus Sucre as the backup.
The players that I am most excited to watch come back from a disappointing season is Stephen Pryor. He’ll come back and possibly pitching a full season. Looking at the current Mariners roster, the pitchers I don’t see having a spot in the bullpen next year are Oliver Perez, Tom Wilhelmsen, Hector Noesi, and Lucas Luetge. Those pitchers have proven this year that they don’t have it anymore and that they can’t pitch in clutch situations.
Danny Farquhar has probably secured his spot as the permanent closer for next year.
Right now though, with the way the Mariners are playing, their fans wont be around next year to watch them have another stressful and unsuccessful season. So, here’s the deal. The Mariners need to improve on hitting with runners in scoring position, their bullpen needs to be lights out and not give up runs late in the game, and finally they need to stay young. The Mariners front office has shown us in the last 10 years they constantly sign older players that are past their prime, so again the Mariners need to stay young. If you remember when the Tampa Bay Rays went to their first World Series, their average age was 24.6 years old, the oldest man on the team that year was Troy Percival who was 39-years old.
If the Mariners do everything that I have written about in this post, then they might have a shot at winning 80+ games and maybe even getting into the playoffs.
We’ll find out next year wont we?