The Seattle Mariners are now ten days away from Opening Day, a March 31st trip to Anaheim to open a three game series against the Angels. The Mariners have made a big splash in free agency adding Robinson Cano and Fernando Rodney. With early injuries taking their toll on the rotation, Mariners fans waited for another possible move or two to be made before Opening Day. However, when the Mariners passed on signing Ervin Santana, who signed a one year deal with the Braves, it is looking more and more like the Mariners will make no more moves before Opening Day.
The Mariners first 16 games are against divisional opponents, with 11 of those games being played on the road. We’ve been waiting for adding another veteran to the rotation to offset the injuries to Taijuan Walker and Hisashi Iwakuma, but it looks like we’re playing the hand we’re dealt. With the injuries, the rotation looks to be Felix Hernandez, Scott Baker, Erasmo Ramirez, Blake Beavan, and James Paxton. None of this is official, of course, and spots may still go to Randy Wolf and Brandon Maurer. Maurer, though, has struggled with back problems in Spring and may be out of the running. Right now, I would give the No. 2 in the rotation behind Felix to Erasmo Ramirez. Ramirez is following up a solid second half (5-3, 4.98 ERA after his call-up) with an excellent Spring. In 18 2/3 innings, Ramirez has posted an 0.96 ERA with 14 strike outs and 2 walks.
But, if the Mariners did make a move in the next two days, what would it be? With Brad Miller looking to have won the starting SS spot, rumors continue to fly that Nick Franklin, last year’s starting 2B, will be traded. The Tigers, who just lost Jose Iglesias for the season, have been added to the possible suitors list along with the Mets, Rays, and Orioles. The Mariners definitely have some holes in the roster. Besides the youth in the rotation, the OF lacks a lot of experience and a veteran back-up who could start if there are injuries would be a nice luxury. The Mariners are also still in talks with last year’s DH Kendrys Morales. Like Robinson Cano said earlier in the Spring, I agree this team needs Morales, a right-handed power bat, to balance this line-up. But, unfortunately for Mariners fans, the two sides remain apart on negotiations. Right now, the starting DH is Corey Hart who will be looking to put an awful Spring behind him. Hart is 4-for-31 with 16 strike outs, not encouraging numbers for a guy who will be in the middle of the Mariners’ order come Opening Day.