5 Seattle Mariners Storylines to Follow During Spring Training
5 Seattle Mariners Situations to Watch in 2014 Spring Training
The Seattle Mariners have had a very active offseason. Along with making the biggest free agent signing of the offseason, Robinson Cano for 10 years and $240 million, the Mariners have also added some under-the-radar talent to their roster.
In December, the Mariners signed veteran infielder Willie Bloomquist to be their primary backup middle infielder. In 2013, Bloomquist hit .317/.360/.367 with a 101 wRC+. Bloomquist will likely get significant playing time for the Mariners, considering he can play all over the diamond. He won't start, but he will back up Cano and shortstop Brad Miller.
Cano, who was signed seven days after the Bloomquist signing, is an elite hitter. He has a career .309/.355/.504 hitter with a 126 wRC+. To make the Cano signing make more sense, the Mariners knew they had to add some more talent to their roster to make them more competitive. To do this, they signed first baseman Corey Hart to a one-year deal.
Hart, who missed the entire 2013 season, is a career .276/.334/.491 hitter with a 117 wRC+. He isn't the greatest defender in the world, but his offense makes him a valuable player. Along with Hart, the Mariners also acquired first baseman/left fielder Logan Morrison from the Miami Marlins in exchange for reliever Carter Capps. Morrison is a former top prospect that hasn't quite lived up to expectations yet.
The Mariners are going to be an interesting team to watch throughout the rest of the offseason, as well as the 2014 season. If they don't win in 2014, the front office will surely be criticized heavily for not adding enough talent around Cano and Felix Hernandez -- unless they make some more moves prior to the start of the season.
What Will the First Base Situation Look Like?
The Seattle Mariners currently have four first basemen, and they seem interested in bringing back Kendrys Morales. It seems highly unlikely that Justin Smoak, Jesus Montero, Logan Morrison and Corey Hart are all on the Mariners' Opening Day roster -- especially if Morales returns.
Will Taijuan Walker Take the Next Step?
Taijuan Walker pitched 15 innings with the Seattle Mariners last season, but he is projected to be in the rotation coming out of Spring Training this year. In his 15 innings in 2013, Walker pitched to a 3.60 ERA with a 2.25 FIP and 7.20 K/9. While Walker was very good in a small sample size in 2013, can he take the next step and be dominant in 2014?
Who Is Closing in 2014?
Will the Seattle Mariners add a closer prior to the season starting, or will they stay in-house? They appear to have interest in Fernando Rodney, but will they sign him? It will be an interesting situation to follow for sure.
Is Anyone Joining Robinson Cano?
The Seattle Mariners said they would add more talent around Robinson Cano. To this point, they haven't really done so yet. Corey Hart is nice, but is he really the type of player the Mariners were talking about? No. It will be interesting to see if they decide to sign a Nelson Cruz or another pitcher to help the Mariners' chances in 2014.