Welcome to the final few weeks before opening day! I hope you have been enjoying spring training as much as I have. Baseball is close! I am delighted that we are less than two weeks away! March began the official Ball Boy Blog previews of all 30 teams. The previews feature all the Free Agent signings, trades, NRI, bold predictions, and some cool fun facts at the end! We are starting at the top of the 2020 ranks and working our way down from best to worst! Enjoy!
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Last Year Record: 27-33 finished 3rd in the AL West and just missed the playoffs.
Record x2.7: 72.9-89.1
Vegas Projected: Vegas is doing the M's dirty, projecting them only 72.5 wins. I love the M's, and I see them winning about 88 games and finishing in 3rd place in the AL West over the Astros and Rangers. Yes, over both the Astros and Rangers
RHP Yoshihisa Hirano(FA), 2B Dee Strange-Gordon(FA), RHP Art Warren(claimed), RHP Carl Edwards Jr.(FA), RHP Matt Magill(FA), LHp Nestor Cortes(FA), OF Phillip Ervin(claimed) 2B Tim Lopes(claimed)
Free Agent Signings:
- LHP James Paxton to a 1yr $8.5mil deal with incentives that could reach $10mil on the deal. Paxton is back in Seattle after spending 2019-20 seasons with the Yankees. Paxton was only able to throw 20.1IP with a 6.64ERA/4.37FIP/3.88SIERA and a 28.9%K rate. The move all but cement that the Mariners will run out a 6-man rotation with Gonzalez, Kikuchi, Sheffield, Flexen, Dunn, and now Paxton in the mix somewhere towards the top.
-RHRP Ken Giles to a 2yr deal. Giles will miss all of 2021 after undergoing Tommy John's surgery on Oct. 1st. If all goes well in recovery, he should be an excellent option in 2022. Going back to 2019, he had a 1.87ERA/2.49SIERA over 53IP.
-SP/RP Kendall Gravemen was resigned to a $1.25Mil deal with the Mariners and could factor into being a 6th SP or a long RP.
-RHP Chris Flexen to a 2yr $4.75mil contract with a 3rd-year option if he hits performance goals. The 26yo played with the Mets from 2017-2019, pitching to an 8.07ERA/6.92FIP over 68IP. He then spent 2020 in the KBO pitching to a 3.01ERA/2.74FIP with a 10.2K/9, 2.3BB/9 over 116.2IP. Flexen will factor into the competition for the 4th/5th spot in the rotation with Justin Dunn, Nick Margevicius, Ljay Newsome, and Robert Dugger. If not, he should easily factor into the bullpen mix.
-RHP Keynan Middleton- Middleton missed 2018-19 due to Tommy John's surgery, and in his return to action in 2020, he appeared in 13 games and posted a 5.25ERA 8.3K/9 over 12IP. Middleton will continue his comeback from Tommy John within the AL West.
RHP Rafael Montero- In 2019, Montero posted a 2.48ERA over 29IP. In 2020 he pitched to a 4.08ERA/3.70FIP over 17.2IP and will be an excellent addition to the Mariners pen.
Rule 5 Draft Selection:
RHP Will Vest- An exciting prospect as a two-way player. The RHP/SS/LF. The 25yo holds a 3.88ERA/1.23WHIP with 142K over 132.1IP as just a reliever. He hasn't taken a swing in the MiLB level, but at college, he slashed .177/.295/.213 over 201PA.
RHP Robert Duggar- the 25yo finds himself back in Seattle after spending time with the Marlins. He was traded to Mia when Dee Strange-Gordon came to Seattle. In 45IP at the MLB level, he owns a 7.40 ERA with a 29-20 K-BB ratio. Dugger offers the M's an optionable depth piece to the back end of the rotation/pen.
RHP Domingo Tapia
RHP Matt Magill, RHP Gerson Bautista- Both are back in camp with the M's
LHP Roenis Elias- Welcome back to Seattle! Elias is coming back after missing all of the 2019/20 seasons to injury. He brings back a career of 3.97ERA/4.26FIP over 388IP.
RHP Paul Sewald- Sewald was non-tendered by the Mets and brought him to Seattle a career 5.50ERA/4.04FIP over 147.1IP as a reliever.
1B/OF Sam Travis, RHP Drew Steckenrider, INF Jantzen Witte, RHP Jimmy Yacabonis, OF Dillon Thomas, RHP Nick Duron, RHP Brady Lail, LHP Ian McKinney, RHP Vinny Nittoli, C Carter Bins, C Jose Godoy, C Josh Morgan, C Brian O'Keeffe, INF Jordan Cowan, OF Moises Gomes, OF Luis Liberato, RHP Taylor Guerrieri, RHP JT Chargois
C Tom Murphy, OF Mitch Hanigar, SS J.P. Crawford
OF Taylor Trammell, RHP Juan Then, RHP Sam Delaplane, RHP Wyatt Mills
Returning from IL:
OF Mitch Haniger, C Tom Murphy, 2B Dylan Moore, RHP Kendall Graveman, OF Jake Fraley, C Luis Torrens, RHP Andres Munoz
C Cal Raleigh, RHP Logan Gilbert, OF Jarred Kelenic, OF Julio Rodriguez, and RHP George Kirby are all in camp.
Fantasy Impact Players
Pitchers- Marco Gonzales, Justus Sheffield, James Paxton, Rafael Montero
Position Players- C Tom Murphy, 2B Dylan Moore, INF Ty France, 3B Kyle Seager, SS JP Crawford, OF Kyle Lewis, and OF Mitch Haniger.
Upcoming 2022 Free Agents:
-The M's hold a club option of $14.5mil over Yusei Kikuchi, which would turn into a vesting option. If he shows well this season, the M's could easily pick that up.
-The M's also holds a $15mil club option over Kyle Seager. He will be 34yo at season's end, and with the recent comments from Mather before his dismissal, he could end up sticking around or restructuring the deal.
-James Paxton, Kendall Graveman are both looking to rebuild stock with the M's and look to boost their value on the open market in 2022.
Storylines to follow
-Jarred Kelenic was sidelined early in camp due to a hamstring injury. He returned on 3/11. As of that day, he hadn't returned to hitting, running, or baseball activities.
-The team could use a combo of JP Crawford, Mitch Haniger, Dylan Moore in the leadoff role throughout the season.
-After the Ken Mather controversy and his departure from the front office. The clock could be winding down before we see top prospects on the MLB roster. Guys like Jared Kelenic, Logan Gilbert could both see their names on lockers in the clubhouse come opening day so the M's can regain some positive PR.
-The Mariners rebound candidates are apparent, C Tom Murphy and OF Mitch Haniger. These players give the M's pop in the lineup, leadership in the clubhouse and are fun to watch. Both players need to get back on the field, stay healthy and play in 130+ games each; the offense will fall into place.
=The NRI to watch is LHP Roenis Elias. Elias is back in Seattle after missing the 2019-20 seasons due to injuries. Elias carries a 3.97ERA/4.26FIP and should be looking to fill the need of a veteran southpaw in the bullpen who can be used for a spot start here and there.
-You can't get much bolder than saying the Mariners win more games than the Astros and finish six games above .500 with how the pen looks.
-SP Yusei Kikuchi. Yes, he had an ugly 5.17ERA however he only gave up 3HR had a 3.30FIP. In his 47IP, he had 47K-20BB and an uptick in his fastball velo. As we look deeper into the stats of Kikuchi, and the excellent starter is there.
Through the end of the 2019 season, the franchise has finished with a losing record in 29 of 43 seasons. The Mariners are one of six Major League Baseball teams who have never won a World Series championship and are the only team to have never played in a World Series. They hold the longest playoff drought in all of the four major North American professional sports, having not qualified for the playoffs since their 116-win season in 2001.
Thanks for reading today, I am so grateful for your time reading, and I hope you enjoyed reviewing and previewing the Mariners 2021. I also want to thank my partners over at Repp Sports for RAZE Energy. Thanks to this clean and sufficient energy, I can have the intense focus to deliver content to you guys consistently. Click here to save 15% right now with the code "BALL BOY" at check out.