With the addition of multi-dimensional shortstop Jean Segura at the top of the order, the Seattle Mariners have the potential to become a modern day murderers’ row and serious contender in the AL West.
Segura looked like a combination of Rickey Henderson and newly elected Hall of Famer Tim Raines in his breakout season with the Arizona Diamondbacks last year after flying under the radar for three seasons in Milwaukee. He led the National League with 203 hits and 637 at-bats, scoring 102 runs while knocking 20 home runs and driving in 64 from the leadoff spot with a .319 batting average and an impressive .867 OPS. He also hit 41 doubles, 7 triples and stole 33 bases. He’ll be setting the table for Sluggers Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager.
After a couple of subpar seasons only by his own lofty standards, Cano had his best year since joining the Mariners in 2014 reaching career-highs with 39 home runs and 107 runs scored, with 103 RBI at a .298 clip, and was named to his seventh All-Star team. At 33 with seven years remaining, his 10-year $240 million contract isn’t looking so bad. Nelson Cruz knocked a second-best in the AL 43 home runs was and reached 40 for the third consecutive season. He also drove in 105 runs, scored 96 and hit .287 with a .915 OPS and at 36, has two years remaining on his three-year $45 million contract.
Third baseman Kyle Sager keeps getting better posting career-highs across the board with 30 home runs, 99 RBI, a .278 average and at 28, he’s barely missed a game in the last five seasons and is signed with the Mariners through 2022. Staff ace “King Felix,” Hernandez, missed six weeks with a calf injury sustained during a teammate’s home run celebration at home plate and had the only abbreviated season of his 12-year career going 11-8 with a 3.82 ERA in 12 starts.
Hisashi Iwakuma led the Mariners with 199 innings pitched and a career-high 16 wins with a 4.12 ERA. In his second full season, top pitching prospect Taijuan Walker was 8-11 with a 4.22 ERA and 119 strikeouts in 134 innings and was the center piece in the trade for Segura along with shortstop Ketel Marte. The Mariners shored up their rotation with the addition of Yovani Gallardo in a trade for outfielder Seth Smith and Chris Heston, of the SF Giants for a player to be named later. Heston missed most of last season with an oblique injury but compiled a 12-11 record with a 3.95 ERA in 2015 including a memorable no-hitter against the New York Mets. Youngsters, Ben Gamel, Mitch Haniger and Guillermo Heredia and newly acquired Jarrod Dyson will share time in left and right field next to starting center fielder Leonys Martin.
Seattle Mariners Prospects to Watch
Prospect to watch: Outfielder Tyler O’Neill hit .293 with 24 home runs and 102 RBI in 130 games at AA Jackson and followed up by hitting .292 with 3 home runs and 14 RBI for the Peoria Javelinas in the Arizona Fall League.