Category Archives: Seattle Mariners

2018 AL West Predictions

1. Houston Astros

The Astros are the defending world series champions, but they arguably made their team even better this offseason with the addition of star pitcher Gerrit Cole. Either way, it’s very difficult to find a weakness on this roster. The Astros have a terrific lineup led by AL MVP Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, George Springer, and Alex Bregman. Houston also has other contibutors in their lineup, but those 4 guys are the core that will carry them for several years to come. Houston also has a terrific starting rotation with Dallas Keuchel, Justin Verlander, and Gerrit Cole leading the rotation. They also have Lance McCullers and Charlie Morton who provide even more depth to the rotation. Houston also has a reliable bullpen with closer Ken Giles and quality setup men Will Harris and Chris Devenski. Houston is definitely the favorite to win the AL West this year and they have all of the pieces to make a deep playoff run once again.

2. Los Angeles Angels

The Angels just missed out on the playoffs last season, but they made some offseason additions that could allow them to be a playoff team in 2018. Los Angeles added Ian Kinsler to be their starting 2nd basemen as that has been a major area of weakness for a few years. The Angels also added Zack Cozart this offseason as he will help to fill a void at the 3rd base position. Those two players will just make the Angels lineup even more dangerous especially with the team already having Mike Trout, Justin Upton, and Albert Pujols in their lineup. However, the key for the Angels will be their starting rotation as their starting pitchers failed to stay healthy last season. Garrett Richards is back in 2018 after missing most of last season due to injury and Andrew Heaney is also returning set to return from injury. The Angels also made a big splash in free agency by signing Shohei Ohtani, but it is a mystery as to how he will adjust to the MLB level since he has only played professionally in Japan. If the starting pitchers for the Angels can stay healthy then they should have a decent starting rotation especially if Ohtani is able to live up to the hype. Meanwhile, the Angels bullpen could be a major issue for the team heading into 2018. Blake Parker figures to be the team’s closer in 2018, but he is rather unproven in that role. The Angels also added Jim Johnson this offseason as a setup man, yet Johnson had an awful 2017 season for Atlanta as he had a 5.56 ERA. Los Angeles also has Cam Bedrosian as a late-inning option, but he struggled for the Angels last season with a 4.43 ERA. Los Angeles needs improvement from Johnson and Bedrosian if this bullpen is going to be successful in 2018. Overall, the Angels should be able to score plenty of runs with their deep lineup, although the starting rotation and bullpen are what is holding them back from competing with the Astros.

3. Seattle Mariners

Seattle is a team that has been on the verge of finally making the playoffs, but they just haven’t been able to do so. The Mariners will probably compete for a playoff spot in 2018, although it is unlikely that they will be able to secure a wild-card spot. Seattle has a very good lineup with Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano, and Kyle Seager providing the power in the middle of the lineup. However, the Mariners also acquired Dee Gordon this offseason who will be their new leadoff hitter with his tremendous speed. Seattle should be able to score runs, but the question will be their pitching staff. Felix Hernandez clearly isn’t the starting pitcher that he once was and he is not the ace of the rotation anymore. James Paxton is the team’s new ace, although the problem for Paxton is that he just can’t seem to stay healthy consistently. Mike Leake and Erasmo Ramirez will provide decent depth in their rotation as the 3rd and 4th starters. However, the Mariners need Paxton to stay healthy and Hernandez to return to form if their starting pitching is to be successful. Meanwhile, the Mariners bullpen should be very good as they have Edwin Diaz as a good closer. However, they also have plenty of depth with Juan Nicasio, Nick Vincent, and David Phelps being good late-inning options. Seattle should be a playoff contender in 2018, but the key to their success will be the starting rotation.

4. Texas Rangers

The Texas Rangers are a team that is definitely trending in the wrong direction as they were a good team a couple of years ago, but now they probably aren’t even a playoff contender. Texas still has a very good lineup and they can hit for some power with Joey Gallo, Rougned Odor, Adrian Beltre, Shin-Soo Choo, and Nomar Mazara leading the way. The team also has Elvis Andrus who can hit for some power as well and he provides tremendous speed as well. The Rangers will hit plenty of home runs this season, but they might still struggle to score some runs as they don’t have many players that hit for a good average. Texas also has a decent bullpen as they have Alex Claudio, Keone Kela, and Jake Diekman as solid late-inning options. However, they need to find which one of those guys will be their closer in 2018, although Claudio seems like the best option out of that group. The one major concern for the Rangers is their starting pitching as they have 5 veteran starters, but those starters all really struggled last season. Cole Hamels is the clear ace for the rotation, yet he needs to be much better than he was last season. Martin Perez, Doug Fister, and Matt Moore have all had success at the MLB level. However, those 3 guys seem to be trending in the wrong direction at this point in their careers. Texas has the lineup to be competitive, but they need more out of their pitching if they want to even be competitive in 2018.

5. Oakland Athletics

Oakland is kind of a mystery team heading into 2018 as they have plenty of young talent, although they aren’t expected to be playoff contenders. Khris Davis is the clear threat in the Athletics lineup as he is one of the best power hitters in the game. However, the Athletics also have young players Matt Olson and Matt Chapman that have proven that they are capable of hitting for power as well. Oakland’s lineup certainly has the potential to hit home runs, but they probably won’t hit for average or score many runs in general. Meanwhile, Oakland’s starting rotation is a complete unknown as it is full of young and uproven starting pitchers. Kendall Graveman and Sean Manaea are probably the team’s best starting pitchers, but neither has proven themselves as the best of the group. Jharel Cotton and Daniel Mengden also have some potential, although they both haven’t been very good early on in their careers. Oakland’s rotation has tremendous potential since they are such a young group and they don’t have much MLB experience. However, somebody needs to step up and pitch well because they don’t really have a leader in their starting rotation. Oakland could have a good starting rotation, but it could also be terrible and we’ll just have to see which young starting pitcher can step up. Oakland’s bullpen has a chance to be good this season as they have Blake Treinen as a decent closer. Also, they have Santiago Casilla and Yusmeiro Petit as experienced late-inning options in their bullpen. However, Oakland’s bullpen has some quality depth overall and it should be the overall strength of the team heading into 2018. The Athletics probably aren’t going to be a playoff contender in 2018. However, don’t count the A’s out since they are an intriguing team with all of their young talent and they could be a sneaky team in 2018.



Mariners sign Nicasio to a 2-year deal

The Seattle Mariners are continuing to try and address their bullpen as they signed veteran right-handed pitcher Juan Nicasio to a 2-year/$17 million contract. Nicasio bounced around quite a bit last season as he played for the Pirates, Phillies, and Cardinals while going 5-5 with a 2.61 ERA with those teams. Nicasio has been a starting pitcher for most of his career, but all of his 76 appearances last season came in a relief role. Nicasio will likely now transition into the 8th inning role for the Mariners next season as he will be the setup man for closer Edwin Diaz. Overall, this does seem to be a lot of money to pay for Seattle since Nicasio only has an unimpressive career ERA of 4.55. However, he has performed much better ever since he became a full-time relief pitcher and he certainly proved last season that he can be very good in a late-inning role. We’ll see if that success can continue for Seattle in 2018 considering that he hasn’t been a relief pitcher for a very long time.

Grade: C+

juan nicasio

Mariners trade Cishek to the Rays

The Seattle Mariners exchanged relief pitchers with the Tampa Bay Rays as the Mariners sent Steve Cishek to the Rays for Erasmo Ramirez.


Mariners analysis/grade:

The Seattle Mariners really didn’t have much of a need for Steve Cishek anymore after the team recently acquired setup man David Phelps from the Marlins. Cishek is still a very good relief pitcher, but the Mariners didn’t have a big role for him this season. Meanwhile, Erasmo Ramirez provides the Mariners with some more versatility since he can be used as a starting pitcher or he can be used as a middle relief pitcher. The Mariners will probably use Ramirez as a starting pitcher to begin, but if that doesn’t work out then they could just move him to the bullpen. Ramirez hasn’t been very good this season as he has a 4.80 ERA, but maybe he will pitch better for the Mariners. Ramirez fits in well with Seattle, although I’m just not sure if he makes Seattle any better. In fact, they might be worse off as a result of this trade since Cishek was a very productive player for the Mariners and Ramirez has had a bad season in 2017. I see why the Mariners made this trade, but this trade probably won’t make them any better.

Grade: C-


Rays analysis/grade:

This trade makes a lot of sense for the Rays since they had a big need for late-inning bullpen help and Cishek is certainly a very good option in the 7th or 8th inning. Cishek has been a closer for most of his career and he did a very good job of it as he has 121 career saves and an impressive 2.81 career ERA. Cishek has been good for the Mariners this season as well since he had a 3.15 ERA for Seattle in 23 appearances. The Rays also didn’t give up much in return for Cishek as they dealt Erasmo Ramirez who had struggled with a 4.80 ERA for the team anyway. Tampa Bay didn’t have a role for Ramirez anyway since they have tons of starting pitching depth and their bullpen is really deep right now as well with the addition of Cishek. The only downside of this trade for the Rays is that they are only getting Cishek as a rental player since he is going to be a free agent after this season. However, this is a trade that makes the Rays bullpen stronger at least for the rest of this season.

Grade: B

steve cishek



Cardinals trade Marco Gonzales to the Mariners

The Seattle Mariners once again are looking to upgrade their pitching depth as they traded outfield prospect Tyler O’Neill to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for starting pitcher Marco Gonzales.


Mariners analysis/grade:

This trade doesn’t make much sense at all for the Mariners because they are giving up their 2nd ranked prospect Tyler O’Neill who has been outstanding in Triple-A. However, in return they are only getting the Cardinals 18th ranked prospect Marco Gonzales who is coming off of Tommy John surgery last year. Gonzales is a left-handed pitcher prospect who was drafted in the 1st round of the 2013 draft by the Cardinals and he certainly has some upside. However, Gonzales hasn’t been very good at the MLB level when he’s been called up as he only has a 4.82 career ERA in 12 games. Gonzales is pitching depth for the Mariners if anything and he might never develop into a decent MLB pitcher. Gonzales will likely start in Triple-A until the Mariners feel that he is ready, but giving up O’Neill for him is just stupid. O’Neill has a much bigger upside than Gonzales and O’Neill has the potential to be a very good starter unlike Gonzales who is just likely starting rotation depth at best for the Mariners. I’m not quite sure why the Mariners would make this trade since O’Neill has much bigger potential than Gonzales and Seattle should have gotten at least another decent prospect in return.

Grade: D


Cardinals analysis/grade:

The Cardinals continue to add to their young outfield depth as they acquired Tyler O’Neill who was the 2nd-ranked prospect in the Mariners minor league system. St. Louis did have to give up promising pitching prospect Marco Gonzales, but Gonzales doesn’t have nearly as much upside as O’Neill anyway. Gonzales was a 2013 1st round pick by St. Louis and he still has some upside, but he struggled at the MLB level while with the Cardinals and injuries have really held him back. The Cardinals are really good at developing starting pitchers, yet for some reason they just weren’t able to develop Gonzales effectively. Meanwhile, Tyler O’Neill might now be the best outfield prospect in the Cardinals organization which is already stacked with young outfielders. O’Neill is known as a very good hitter and he is certainly proving that season as he has hit 19 home runs in Triple-A this season. O’Neill probably won’t hit for a high average, but he has great power and he can drive in tons of runs. O’Neill also has decent speed as he has 9 stolen bases this season, but he needs to become a better defensive player. O’Neill projects as a corner outfielder at the MLB because of his lack of defense, but he should be a starter as long as he can continue to hit like he has in the minor leagues. O’Neill could make his MLB debut very soon and that is when we will see if his power numbers will remain. Overall, this is a steal for the Cardinals because they are getting a young prospect with big upside for a pitcher that wasn’t going to have a big role with the team anyway.

Grade: B+

marco gonzales

David Phelps traded to the Mariners

The Miami Marlins traded relief pitcher David Phelps to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for minor league prospects Brayan Hernandez, Brandon Miller, Pablo Lopez, and Lukas Schiraldi.


Mariners analysis/grade:

The Seattle Mariners have been looking to improve their bullpen as they look to make the playoffs this season for the first time since 2001. That is why the Mariners decided to trade for Marlins relief pitcher David Phelps on Thursday. Phelps was a starting pitcher and relief pitcher for the first 4 seasons of his career, but he struggled as a starter and he became a full-time relief pitcher in 2016. Phelps had an outstanding first season as a full-time relief pitcher that season as he had a 2.28 ERA. However, Phelps hasn’t been nearly as good this season for the Marlins as he has a 3.45 ERA. This acquisition does help the Mariners bullpen for the rest of this season and next season as well as he is under contract through 2018. Phelps is a good middle relief pitcher, but I’m just not sure that he will make much of an impact for the Mariners. Also, they certainly need other missing pieces like a catcher and some better relief pitchers in order to better compete for a playoff spot. Phelps shouldn’t be used as a late-inning option, but he is a good pitcher to use in the 6th or 7th inning. The problem with this trade for Seattle is that they gave up 4 young prospects in this deal which is too much to give up for a middle relief pitcher especially one that hasn’t been very consistent. Seattle even gave up their 6th, 16th, and 22nd ranked prospects in this deal which is way too much. Nobody knows if those prospects will ever be good MLB players, but it is still too much potential to give up for a relief pitcher that likely won’t make much of a difference. This trade might help the Mariners bullpen slightly this season and in 2018, but the risk of this trade just isn’t worth the reward for Seattle.

Grade: C-


Marlins analysis/grade:

This is an outstanding trade for the Marlins as they are receiving 4 young prospects for a decent relief pitcher that was inconsistent during his time with the team. The biggest prize that the Marlins received in this trade is 19-year old outfielder Brayan Hernandez who was the 6th best prospect in the Mariners minor league system according to Hernandez has been inconsistent so far in his minor league career as he hit .281 in rookie ball in 2016. However, he hasn’t has much success in 28 games at Class A this season as he is only hitting .252 with 2 home runs. Hernandez will probably never be a decent power hitter, but the hope is that he can improve his average and be more of a line-drive hitter. Hernandez has good speed as he has 35 career stolen bases, but that won’t mean much unless he can continue to improve his offensive abilities. I’m not sure he’ll ever be a starter at the MLB level and he needs much more time to develop, but he has the potential to be a decent bench player one day. The Marlins also received right-handed starting pitcher prospect Brandon Miller who was the 16th best prospect in the Mariners farm system. Miller has been good in his 2 minor league seasons as he is 13-6 with a 3.32 ERA and he has the potential to make it to the majors in a few seasons if he can stay consistent. Miller has the potential to compete for the final spot in an MLB starting rotation at some point, but if that doesn’t work out then he could be a good long relief or middle relief pitcher. Miami also received right-handed starting pitcher Pablo Lopez who was the 22nd ranked prospect in the Mariners farm system. Lopez was outstanding in his first 3 minor league seasons as he had an ERA of 2.57, 3.13, and 2.13 in those seasons. However, Lopez has not been good in Class A advanced this season as he is 5-8 with a 5.04 ERA. Lopez is striking out a lot of batters this year, but he is also allowing tons of hits which explains his mediocre ERA. This season might just be a bump in the road for Lopez, but he will likely get back on track soon because he is still a good pitching prospect. Finally, the Marlins acquired 23-year old right-handed starting pitcher Lukas Schiraldi who was a 15th round pick by Seattle in 2014. Schiraldi isn’t a ranked prospect and he doesn’t have much potential. However, if he can turn around his minor league career then maybe he could be a decent depth relief pitcher for the Mariners. Schiraldi is 13-23 with a 4.65 ERA in his minor league career, so the Marlins are just hoping that somehow something will click and he will become a decent pitcher one day. He doesn’t have much of a chance of making it to the MLB, but possibly a change of organizations will help Schiraldi improve. Either way, this trade is a very big return for the Marlins as they now have 3 decent young prospects to work with for an average middle relief pitcher that was inconsistent at times.

Grade: A

david phelps

Biggest need remaining for every AL West team

Houston Astros РBiggest need: 1st baseman

The Houston Astros don’t have a big need, but if there is one position that appears to be a little bit of a concern then it would be 1st base. Yulieski Gurriel will be the team’s starting 1st baseman in 2017, but he has limited MLB experience which makes me wonder how he will fare with the everyday job at 1st base next season. Gurriel hit .262 with 3 home runs for Houston last season, but the Astros should add at least some depth to the 1st base position. It might not work out with Gurriel as the everyday 1st baseman and the Astros should find another 1st baseman that can fill in if Gurriel doesn’t do well. There are many options left in free agency and they would be smart to add some depth to 1st base.

Los Angeles Angels – Biggest need: Catcher

The Los Angeles Angels didn’t get much production out of the catcher position with Geovany Soto and Jett Bandy. Now, both Bandy and Soto have departed this offseason which means there will be a new starting catcher for the Angels in 2017. Carlos Perez will see more playing time as a backup catcher next season. However, Martin Maldonado was acquired from the Brewers this offseason in order to be the new starting catcher. Maldonado has some power as he hit 8 home runs last season, but he needs to be a more consistent hitter as he only had a .202 average. It’s tough to find solid catchers these days, but the Angels could really use one because the combination of Maldonado and Perez doesn’t look too promising.

Oakland Athletics – Biggest need: Centerfielder

Oakland has some big needs to fill before next season, but the biggest need that they have is in center field. Jake Smolinski is projected to be the starting centerfielder for the Athletics in 2017, but he has never been very good even as a backup outfielder. Smolinski can hit some home runs as he hit 7 last season, but a .242 average is a little concerning. I don’t see Oakland going out and signing a quality centerfielder. However, there are still a few out there if they choose to go that route and it would probably improve their lineup.

Seattle Mariners – Biggest need: Left Fielder

The Mariners outfield isn’t looking too good for next season as they have three starting outfielders that aren’t very solid players. However, left field appears to be a major weakness for Seattle heading into next season. Ben Gamel is projected to be the starter in left field for the Mariners in 2017, but the issue is his lack of experience. Gamel only has 48 career at-bats and he only has a .188 average to show for it. There are still some quality left fielders in free agency and the Mariners should sign one to compete with Gamel for the starting job.

Texas Rangers – Biggest need: 1st baseman

Texas lost starting 1st baseman Mitch Moreland in free agency and it has created a major vacancy at the position heading into next season. Right now Ryan Rua would be the starting 1st baseman for Texas and he has only played 44 games at the position in his career. Don’t be shocked if the Rangers make a move to sign a quality 1st baseman and it has been rumored that they will reach a deal with Mike Napoli. Either way, the Rangers should add an everyday 1st baseman soon, although their options are starting to run out.

Giants trade Heston to the Mariners

The San Francisco Giants traded right-handed starting pitcher Chris Heston to the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday for a player to be named later.

Giants evaluation:

It wasn’t too long ago that Chris Heston was 12-11 with a 3.95 ERA during his first full season with the Giants in 2015. That was also the year that Heston threw a no-hitter against the Mets. However, San Francisco’s starting rotation already has 5 proven pitchers in their starting rotation, so Heston wouldn’t have been able to compete for a spot. Heston could still have provided some useful depth for the Giants rotation. He would have been a good fill-in if one of those 5 pitchers¬†in the Giants rotation were to get injured. I don’t have much of a problem with the Giants trading him since they don’t have much of a use for him. However, the Giants are only getting a player to be named later from the Mariners, so they probably should have just kept him in Triple-A for rotational depth. I just don’t see the incentive as to why the Giants would trade Heston away for basically nothing. For that price, it was just more worth it for the Giants to keep Heston rather than trading him.

Grade: C-

Mariners evaluation:

This trade makes sense for the Mariners because they are getting a starting pitcher that can compete for a spot in the rotation and the best part is that Seattle gave up basically nothing to get him. Heston has proven that he can be a quality player as he had a 3.95 ERA with the Giants in 2015. Even if he doesn’t win a spot in the Mariners starting rotation then he could spend some time in Triple-A and wait until an injury happens for the Mariners. Also, he could even spend some time in Seattle’s bullpen as a long relief pitcher if needed. Heston just provides some much needed pitching depth for the Mariners and even if he doesn’t provide much for Seattle this still is a low risk trade. Either way, this is a tremendous trade for the Mariners since they are giving up a low-level player for Heston.

Grade: B+