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  1. #1
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    Seattle Mariners: 2012

    Well, I suppose it's getting to be about that time. With football pretty much over and Fan Fest going on this weekend, we might as well jump threads and focus on the new year (Another new year with new hope!) I'll give my annual, completely boring, most likely wrong, outlook on the 2012 M's.

    Catcher:

    It's interesting that in a matter of months we went from a HUGE weakness at Catcher with Miguel Olivo and Adam Moore, to an actual surplus with Montero, Jaso, Olivo, Gimenez, Moore, etc.

    This will be an interesting development for many reasons, but for starters: I don't expect to see Moore or Gimenez on the team. They aren't very good and we have no need for depth anymore. The only way I see Gimenez making it, is if they decide they want some extra outfield depth, but in that case, I don't see why they wouldn't call up an OF who is better than him.

    A lot of the boneheads in the Seattle media have been trying to figure out who is the starter and who is going to be the "guy". Well, it's not going to work like that IMO. Montero will catch games. Point, blank, period. Wedge, Jack Z, etc. have all stated that Montero WILL get his shot at catching. Wedge said that many catchers don't really blossom as a defensive catcher until later and that it would be foolish to not give him a chance. However, I think anything beyond a third of the starts at catcher would be a stretch, especially in his true rookie year. I'd expect something like 25% of his ABs to come at catcher, while the rest (maybe a little at 1st) go to DH.

    That leaves about 75% (again, this is all just guessing) or so to split between Olivo and Jaso. Wedge seems to really like Olivo, but Jaso is probably the better catcher between the two. I still expect to see Olivo get the majority of the reps. Let's just hope he's done swinging at pitches that are so far outside they're hitting the grass...doh!

    1st Base:

    On one hand, there's not much to say here, as there's no debate/doubt on who our 1st baseman is, but on the other hand, there's a lot to say about WHO that guy is.

    Who is Justin Smoak?

    Is it the guy who cranked out 10 homers or so in the first 2 months and was using all parts of the field from both sides of the plate? Or is he the guy who swung at every single curve ball in the dirt for 3 straight months, couldn't stay healthy and regressed defensively?

    The answer is probably somewhere in the middle, but make no mistake, this is a put up or shut up year for Smoak. Fair or not, it's time for him to start producing. Reports are that he's come in down 17 pounds at 220 and he's completely healthy. You guys know how I feel about Smoak: not a big fan...I really like him as a person (met him before a game last year, really nice guy and he has the best intro music on the entire team) and I know he's gone through a lot in his first couple years with his dad passing and the freak injuries, but he's going to have to make a significant adjustment at the plate if he wants to become the kind of power-gap hitter that he was projected to be. He gets himself in bad counts which ends up with junk balls that he swings at. I'm being optimistic with Smoak, as he is still a young hitter, and I hope this is finally the year he puts up a .850+ OPS like he's capable of.

    I think Montero will get a couple looks at 1B throughout the year and Carp will fill in whenever Smoak is out/day off.

    Second base:

    I have no idea what we're going to do here...we need some serious reinforcements. Oh wait, we have Dustin Ackley. Sorry, I was reminiscing about going into a 3rd straight year with either Adam Kennedy, Jack Wilson or Chone Figgins as our second baseman.

    Not much to say here...I have no doubt that Ackley will continue his ascension into stardom. He was amazing defensively for someone who just picked up the position and although he cooled down at the end, he showed at the plate why he was the #2 pick overall. I'm not even going to name his backups because I hope he plays every game, every at bat. Ok, not really. He'll be backed up by some combination of Kyle Seager and Chone Figgins I would guess.

    Shortstop:

    Hustle-team hero Brendan Ryan will be back here as Nick Franklin isn't near ready for the big leagues yet. I like Brendan Ryan. He plays defense, he hustles, he plays the game hard, he plays alert (still love that infield triple) and he's a good clubhouse guy. The only problem: he sucks at hitting (gee, that's a shocker). I believe this is his final year of the deal, and he's a good stop-gap guy that can hold the position for Franklin in 2013.

    Munenori Kawasaki will also be on the team, I would assume. Don't know much about him, other than the fact that he seems to have the same kind of sleep-inducing hitting skills as most of the team.

    Third base:

    Hello, weakness. Yikes, could this position be any more dreadful. Let's see: we have the choice between a guy who does everything wrong, a guy who can't hit for any power, or a guy who can hit the ball a mile but strikes out a ton (Figgins, Seager and Liddi there for anyone who was wondering). I'm not going to pretend like I have a favorite for who wins the job, well I kind of do, none of them. I hope it's some kind of platoon or rotation between Liddi and Seager. Figgins sucks and I don't want him to ever hit the green grass or dirt infield of Safeco field ever again. Alas, I know that's not likely and we'll get some kind of dreadful mix of the three. Like I said in the 2011 thread, I really wish the Mariners would go after David Wright whenever the Mets make him available. He'd be a nice fit for the team.

    Left-field:

    Pretty clear that this position will be mostly Mike Carp. Enemy of USS Mariner and saberarrogance, Carp had a surprising rookie season that started by him absolutely destroying anything in sight at AAA. After he had to be brought up out of mercy, he turned out a pretty nice season hitting .274 with 12 homers and some timely hitting. Yeah, he sucks at defense and his peripherals suggest a possible reduction, I think he's a good LH fit for our lineup that could certainly use all the pop it can get.

    Mike Carp will probably get a decent amount of run at 1B when Smoak gets the occasional day off. Casper Wells will play LF on those days, I'd assume.

    Center field:

    Just like first base...make it or break it season here. We all love Guti's defense, but another .220 season won't be tolerated. He's too good and our team is too poor for that crap. Not much to say other than that. Another gold glove season is in the works, so hopefully he can get his bat going again.

    Sleeper-alert-that-will-make-everyone-hate-me: Michael Saunders. Apparently he's been working with a new hitting coach in the offseason and has looked miles better. I don't think he's going to ever be the guy we wanted, but I think he will be a servicable 4th OF who can play CF and hit adequately. Let's see how wrong I am. :)

    Right field:

    Well, looks like this could be the final season that we see Ichiro Suzuki play for the M’s. It’s time to part, but I absolutely love what Ichiro has done for the last 10 years. Take away last year and you have a guy who is unconventional and quirky, yet consistent and durable. No player in M’s history has hit for average the way this guy did and he did it while playing very good defense. So if this is truly his last year…I hope he goes out with a bang. .330 average, 6 HRs, 35 SB. Calling it now.

    Ichiro will certainly be depended on less this year IMO, which makes Casper Wells even more valuable as he can play all 3 OF spots.

    Designated Hitter:

    So regardless of how we all feel about Montero being limited (for now) to mostly DH, isn’t it at least nice to say that our DH is going to be someone other than Jose Vidro, Milton Bradley or Jack Cust?

  2. #2
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    Starting Pitching:

    Last year I predicted this as a weakness for us. I said that Fister and Vargas were one year wonders, Bedard had nothing to contribute and Pineda probably isn't ready for the big leagues. So this year, let me predict that Felix has an ERA in the 5s, Vargas will again falter in the 2nd half, Hisashi Iwakuma never regains his strength from his arm surgery, Blake Beavan has a season that looks more like his peripherals suggested last year and Hector Noesi is as average as he looked during the trade.

    There, problem solved.

    On a serious note, I'm mildly worried about the rotation again. We have only one frontline starter (although help is on the way). Vargas is a nice pitcher, but he has no business being a #2. Just like Iwakuma has no business being a #3 and so on and so forth.

    I'm actually excited to see Iwakuma. I think he was underrated with the Darvish signing. The A's wanted him fairly badly last year. He seems to have a good command for the strike zone. Not a power pitcher or anything, but hey, it's Safeco.

    I'd say the rotation projects as such:

    1- Felix
    2- Vargas
    3- Iwakuma
    4- Beavan
    5- Noesi/Millwood

    The first 3 are written in stone IMO, from there, I expect Beavan to have the best shot at a guaranteed rotation spot based upon his decent 2011 campaign. I think Noesi and Millwood will battle for the 5th spot, which I predict Millwood will win, sending Noesi down to AAA to keep his arm stretched out. I flat out refuse to consider Charlie "I give up home runs" Furbush a legitimate candidate for the rotation. I couldn't believe USS Mariner actually posted an article about him being a contender.

    As stated millions of times...the help is on the way in the minors. 3 of the top 50 prospects in baseball: Hultzen, Walker, Paxton. I'm excited to see Hultzen and Paxton likely sometime late this year, and Walker a year or two after that.

    Relief Pitchers:

    I really like the way our bullpen is shaping up. Chance Ruffin and Charlie Furbush are a couple of arms made for the bullpen and it's good to have some youth there. Love George Sherrill back. And I think that Brandon League can turn into an All-Star closer, provided he doesn't have any stretches like the one back in May. I also think he should be traded if he's pitching really well. I'm of the belief that closers can be developed frequently from within and if you have a guy that demands a lot, move him!

    So, that's what we got this year. Probably gonna be out of contention by July, but hey, I like what Jack Z is doing. What Jack Z and Wedge are selling, I'm buying. What Nintendo, Chuck and Howie are selling, they can shove up it up their @ss daily and twice on Sundays, and I maintain that this team will never sniff a World Series with that trio of goobers running the team. In the meantime, I can't help but like what Jack and Eric are putting together on the field. Go M's!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by seahawksfan837 View Post
    Well, I suppose it's getting to be about that time. With football pretty much over and Fan Fest going on this weekend, we might as well jump threads and focus on the new year (Another new year with new hope!) I'll give my annual, completely boring, most likely wrong, outlook on the 2012 M's.

    Catcher:

    It's interesting that in a matter of months we went from a HUGE weakness at Catcher with Miguel Olivo and Adam Moore, to an actual surplus with Montero, Jaso, Olivo, Gimenez, Moore, etc.

    This will be an interesting development for many reasons, but for starters: I don't expect to see Moore or Gimenez on the team. They aren't very good and we have no need for depth anymore. The only way I see Gimenez making it, is if they decide they want some extra outfield depth, but in that case, I don't see why they wouldn't call up an OF who is better than him.

    A lot of the boneheads in the Seattle media have been trying to figure out who is the starter and who is going to be the "guy". Well, it's not going to work like that IMO. Montero will catch games. Point, blank, period. Wedge, Jack Z, etc. have all stated that Montero WILL get his shot at catching. Wedge said that many catchers don't really blossom as a defensive catcher until later and that it would be foolish to not give him a chance. However, I think anything beyond a third of the starts at catcher would be a stretch, especially in his true rookie year. I'd expect something like 25% of his ABs to come at catcher, while the rest (maybe a little at 1st) go to DH.

    That leaves about 75% (again, this is all just guessing) or so to split between Olivo and Jaso. Wedge seems to really like Olivo, but Jaso is probably the better catcher between the two. I still expect to see Olivo get the majority of the reps. Let's just hope he's done swinging at pitches that are so far outside they're hitting the grass...doh!

    You may as well ask Tarvaris Jackson to develop pocket presence, those hapless swings are who Olivo is. Agree with the rest of the writeup.

    1st Base:

    On one hand, there's not much to say here, as there's no debate/doubt on who our 1st baseman is, but on the other hand, there's a lot to say about WHO that guy is.

    Who is Justin Smoak?

    Is it the guy who cranked out 10 homers or so in the first 2 months and was using all parts of the field from both sides of the plate? Or is he the guy who swung at every single curve ball in the dirt for 3 straight months, couldn't stay healthy and regressed defensively?

    The answer is probably somewhere in the middle, but make no mistake, this is a put up or shut up year for Smoak. Fair or not, it's time for him to start producing. Reports are that he's come in down 17 pounds at 220 and he's completely healthy. You guys know how I feel about Smoak: not a big fan...I really like him as a person (met him before a game last year, really nice guy and he has the best intro music on the entire team) and I know he's gone through a lot in his first couple years with his dad passing and the freak injuries, but he's going to have to make a significant adjustment at the plate if he wants to become the kind of power-gap hitter that he was projected to be. He gets himself in bad counts which ends up with junk balls that he swings at. I'm being optimistic with Smoak, as he is still a young hitter, and I hope this is finally the year he puts up a .850+ OPS like he's capable of.

    I think Montero will get a couple looks at 1B throughout the year and Carp will fill in whenever Smoak is out/day off.

    Second base:

    I have no idea what we're going to do here...we need some serious reinforcements. Oh wait, we have Dustin Ackley. Sorry, I was reminiscing about going into a 3rd straight year with either Adam Kennedy, Jack Wilson or Chone Figgins as our second baseman.

    Not much to say here...I have no doubt that Ackley will continue his ascension into stardom. He was amazing defensively for someone who just picked up the position and although he cooled down at the end, he showed at the plate why he was the #2 pick overall. I'm not even going to name his backups because I hope he plays every game, every at bat. Ok, not really. He'll be backed up by some combination of Kyle Seager and Chone Figgins I would guess.

    I think that Japanese backup IF will get time here too.

    Shortstop:

    Hustle-team hero Brendan Ryan will be back here as Nick Franklin isn't near ready for the big leagues yet. I like Brendan Ryan. He plays defense, he hustles, he plays the game hard, he plays alert (still love that infield triple) and he's a good clubhouse guy. The only problem: he sucks at hitting (gee, that's a shocker). I believe this is his final year of the deal, and he's a good stop-gap guy that can hold the position for Franklin in 2013.

    Munenori Kawasaki will also be on the team, I would assume. Don't know much about him, other than the fact that he seems to have the same kind of sleep-inducing hitting skills as most of the team.

    Yeah, this guy will get time at 2B.

    Third base:

    Hello, weakness. Yikes, could this position be any more dreadful. Let's see: we have the choice between a guy who does everything wrong, a guy who can't hit for any power, or a guy who can hit the ball a mile but strikes out a ton (Figgins, Seager and Liddi there for anyone who was wondering). I'm not going to pretend like I have a favorite for who wins the job, well I kind of do, none of them. I hope it's some kind of platoon or rotation between Liddi and Seager. Figgins sucks and I don't want him to ever hit the green grass or dirt infield of Safeco field ever again. Alas, I know that's not likely and we'll get some kind of dreadful mix of the three. Like I said in the 2011 thread, I really wish the Mariners would go after David Wright whenever the Mets make him available. He'd be a nice fit for the team.

    Agreed

    Left-field:

    Pretty clear that this position will be mostly Mike Carp. Enemy of USS Mariner and saberarrogance, Carp had a surprising rookie season that started by him absolutely destroying anything in sight at AAA. After he had to be brought up out of mercy, he turned out a pretty nice season hitting .274 with 12 homers and some timely hitting. Yeah, he sucks at defense and his peripherals suggest a possible reduction, I think he's a good LH fit for our lineup that could certainly use all the pop it can get.

    Mike Carp will probably get a decent amount of run at 1B when Smoak gets the occasional day off. Casper Wells will play LF on those days, I'd assume.

    Might be more of as platoon in LF, assuming Wells isn't in CF already.

    Center field:

    Just like first base...make it or break it season here. We all love Guti's defense, but another .220 season won't be tolerated. He's too good and our team is too poor for that crap. Not much to say other than that. Another gold glove season is in the works, so hopefully he can get his bat going again.

    Sleeper-alert-that-will-make-everyone-hate-me: Michael Saunders. Apparently he's been working with a new hitting coach in the offseason and has looked miles better. I don't think he's going to ever be the guy we wanted, but I think he will be a servicable 4th OF who can play CF and hit adequately. Let's see how wrong I am. :)

    You keep harping on Smoak, but are willing to believe Saunders can still contribute? Heh.

    Right field:

    Well, looks like this could be the final season that we see Ichiro Suzuki play for the M’s. It’s time to part, but I absolutely love what Ichiro has done for the last 10 years. Take away last year and you have a guy who is unconventional and quirky, yet consistent and durable. No player in M’s history has hit for average the way this guy did and he did it while playing very good defense. So if this is truly his last year…I hope he goes out with a bang. .330 average, 6 HRs, 35 SB. Calling it now.

    Ichiro will certainly be depended on less this year IMO, which makes Casper Wells even more valuable as he can play all 3 OF spots.

    Designated Hitter:

    So regardless of how we all feel about Montero being limited (for now) to mostly DH, isn’t it at least nice to say that our DH is going to be someone other than Jose Vidro, Milton Bradley or Jack Cust?
    Nice writeup. I think you're a little higher on Carp than will come to bear, as I think Wells gets a bunch of at bats for this team, and I'm hoping for a Guti bounce back.
    "Personal foul, 69, offense. He was giving him the business."

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by MKHawk View Post
    Nice writeup. I think you're a little higher on Carp than will come to bear, as I think Wells gets a bunch of at bats for this team, and I'm hoping for a Guti bounce back.
    Thanks. I am admittedly higher on Carp than many. I'm one of those people who believe in sabermetrics to a point, but I think there's a lot of aspects of the game that the saber-obsessed group tends to miss. To me, Carp just strikes me as a guy who is a late bloomer. He's produced at every level, so it's not like he just came out of nowhere. With him, it was all about seeing if he could shed that "CAAAArp" stigma. He has a good approach at the plate, he doesn't chase bad pitches too often, he's a timely hitter and he makes really good contact with the ball (which, to me, explains why people think his "luck" was high last year).

    I don't think he's going to be a franchise player or anything, but I can't fathom why so many people (mostly the USS/LL crew from what I've seen) think he should be a utility player.

    Maybe Carp is a utility player, but I think he's at least earned the right to prove that himself, not let stats, peripherals and projections decide that. I think he's a guy who can hit 25 HR/80 RBIs, while playing some piss poor defense. It won't give him a great WAR or anything, but I think right now, that kind of offense is incredibly valuable. With Guti out there in CF, I don't think Carp's defense in LF is the end of the world or anything. Wedge is also a big Carp fan, so I think we'll be seeing a lot of him.

    You keep harping on Smoak, but are willing to believe Saunders can still contribute? Heh.
    It's all about perspective/expectations my friend.

    I harp on Smoak, because he has the tools to be great. He has the switch-hitting opposite field power that every team envies. He has the ability to be a middle-of-the-order 1B with a high-.800 OPS. That's why I get so frustrated with him getting behind in the count and not giving himself a chance.

    With Saunders, the expectations are pretty much nothing and I simply think he's going to have a productive enough spring to make the team as a 5th OF. I'm certainly not suggesting that he's going to go back to his 30-30 potential or anything.

  5. #5
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    Smoak's got the potential to be a Texeira type.

    FraGu is a guy you can play if you're the Yankees or the Sox or another juggernaut offense. But he needs to at laest get back to his old ways to justify his existence.

    Seager is the guy i'd root for at 3B. I think he'll devleop some pop. If he gets on base, plays plus D and can pop 10-15 HRs that's a valuable player.
    Mac9, to the true warrior. the ultimate competitor and the most worth adversary any athlete has ever faced off against. He was an inspiration for both his on the field play, off the field contributions and his leadership. The world is now a worse place without him.

    "Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity" - Justice Antonin Scalia

    "Just because you're the lone voice in the wilderness, it doesn't mean you're wrong."
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Q View Post
    Smoak's got the potential to be a Texeira type.
    You need to post here more often. There's only about 3 of us (MK, AO and myself) who give a rats ass about the M's at this point. LOL. I agree with this statement too.

    FraGu is a guy you can play if you're the Yankees or the Sox or another juggernaut offense. But he needs to at laest get back to his old ways to justify his existence.
    Bingo! That's exactly what I've said. If you have no trouble scoring runs, then he's a great defensive asset to have in CF, but you just can't have a guy hitting .220 on a horrible offensive team, regardless of how good he is in the field. The good news is that his condition is completely behind him and he's put on about 20 pounds. Like I said, make or break year here.

    Seager is the guy i'd root for at 3B. I think he'll devleop some pop. If he gets on base, plays plus D and can pop 10-15 HRs that's a valuable player.
    I'm a big Seager fan. I think if you're waiting for pop though, you're going to be waiting a long time, and ultimately why he's probably destined to be a super-utility type. He hasn't hit for pop (at least significant pop) at any level, so I doubt it's going to magically appear.

    I'm a much bigger advocate of Seager than Liddi though. I'm so sick and tired of watching guys strike out a million times. I don't want to see it anymore. LOL!

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    Ideally Seager could be your everyday shortstop.

    Since he made some starts there I think the M's are at least thinking about it.
    Mac9, to the true warrior. the ultimate competitor and the most worth adversary any athlete has ever faced off against. He was an inspiration for both his on the field play, off the field contributions and his leadership. The world is now a worse place without him.

    "Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity" - Justice Antonin Scalia

    "Just because you're the lone voice in the wilderness, it doesn't mean you're wrong."
    - Ghandi

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Q View Post
    Ideally Seager could be your everyday shortstop.

    Since he made some starts there I think the M's are at least thinking about it.
    M's are hoping Nick Franklin takes over SS duties next season (I'm pretty sure it's next year, 837?)

    I think Seager's PT there is to know what they can do in the event of Ryan going down for a length of time.
    "Personal foul, 69, offense. He was giving him the business."

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Q View Post
    Ideally Seager could be your everyday shortstop.

    Since he made some starts there I think the M's are at least thinking about it.
    Quote Originally Posted by MKHawk View Post
    M's are hoping Nick Franklin takes over SS duties next season (I'm pretty sure it's next year, 837?)

    I think Seager's PT there is to know what they can do in the event of Ryan going down for a length of time.
    MK is correct. Franklin is projected to be in the big leagues in 2013. Our #1 hitting prospect after Montero. Probably a situation like Ackley, where they call him up midseason to avoid the Super 2 thing.

    I think they played Seager at SS just to get an idea of where he can play. In all honesty, it was probably more of a sign they view him as a utility type. There are a few grumblings about Franklin not sticking at SS, but the M's have been adamant that he is the SS of the future. Seager will probably get the most 3B starts this year (they've already said Figgins is going to be playing a utility role: 3B, 2B and OF). So he has a chance to prove he can start this year. He also will probably get a shot at 3B in 2013, if they haven't made a move (I'm hoping for Wright by then though).

    That said, I would be fine with Seager at SS if Franklin proves he can hit with enough power to play 3B (unlikely IMO) or if something goes wrong with Franklin (he had an injury-plagued, down year, so he's far from a guarantee).

  10. #10
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    Great analysis, 837... I'm getting geeked up for the season to start... Pitchers/Cathers report to camps soon...

    This team reminds me of the TB Devil Rays 5 or 6 seasons ago when they had all that talent in the minors that began to make the big league roster and produce... This team has that make up, I just hope they play up to expectations... Great foundation so far...

  11. #11
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    I'm not a huge franklin believe (havne't been since his amateur days), but I do agree the M's gotta give him a shot.
    Mac9, to the true warrior. the ultimate competitor and the most worth adversary any athlete has ever faced off against. He was an inspiration for both his on the field play, off the field contributions and his leadership. The world is now a worse place without him.

    "Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity" - Justice Antonin Scalia

    "Just because you're the lone voice in the wilderness, it doesn't mean you're wrong."
    - Ghandi

  12. #12
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    As a player or as a SS?
    "Personal foul, 69, offense. He was giving him the business."

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Q View Post
    I'm not a huge franklin believe (havne't been since his amateur days), but I do agree the M's gotta give him a shot.
    Not very many people are/were. People were stunned when Jack Z took him in the 1st round.

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    Interesting... Rumors are that the M's first tried to trade Pineida to Toronto for 3B, Brett Lawrie... But the Jay's declined the offer... The M's then went on to land Montero...

  15. #15
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    Lawrie is a beast at a position of need. Shame that didn't go through.
    "I believe it is the duty of each of us to act as if the fate of the world depended on him. Admittedly, one man by himself cannot do the job. However, one man can make a difference."

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