Baseball season officially started as of March 31. The time for America’s favorite pastime to resurface to take control of local television stations and drive fans nationwide into the familiar baseball frenzy is nigh. While some fans are eagerly awaiting season tickets to go on sale on ticketmaster.com, others are rushing to the local team store to buy the latest jerseys featuring their favorite players. Seattle, of course, will be no exception as Ichiro Suzuki’s popularity has once again soared to new heights after he recently broke Edgar Martinez’s record of career hits as a Mariner.
The Mariners opened the new season with a three game series against the Oakland Athletics last Friday. They managed to win two out of three games, a promising start to the new season. However, battle preparations were made long before the first pitch on April 1.
Back in December, the Mariners re-signed Erik Bedard to a non-guaranteed one year deal. This was probably not the most popular move made by the Mariners in their long and prestigious history, but it seems to be a gamble that they are willing to make. Perhaps Bedard will contribute to the team when he is healthy again. He might even develop some skill too.
The day after the Mariners re-signed Bedard, they traded Jose Lopez to the Rockies for Chaz Roe. While Chaz Roe might not be that great, neither was Jose Lopez. The value equivalency of the trade was about as impactful as trading a Metapod for a Kakuna.
One of the better, but still questionable, moves made by the Mariners was signing Miguel Olivo to a two year deal. Olivo is one of the best free agents floating around; unlike the other Mariner catchers, he is not completely incompetent. But the real catch is, Olivo is 32 years old—too old to consider him to be in his prime. It makes it seem as if he was signed simply because of his name.
After signing Olivo, the Mariners signed Jack Cust to a one year deal, valued at 2.5 million dollars. Nothing seems to be wrong with this deal as Cust is still young and has a good balance of speed and power. If he can up his accuracy at the plate, he will only go up.
Possibly the best deal the Mariners made, acquiring Brendan Ryan for Maikel Cleto, came as a surprise to most Mariners fans. Bringing in a middle infielder was vital for the Mariners because we all know Jack Wilson’s health is about as reliable as cigarettes and vodka. Not only is Ryan’s outfield record better than Wilson’s, he also has quite the record at the bat as well, standing at a cool .324 wOBA back in 2009. As for Maikel Cleto, if he were any good, fans would probably be rocking his jerseys. But they are not.
Finally, another mediocre trade was made to the Indians: Aaron Laffey for Matt Lawson.There isn’t a whole lot of buzz about this trade.
The Mariners are focusing on pitchers and catchers. They sent out many invitations to spring training for both types of players to numerous minor league organizations. During training, the trainers observed no improvement . No new pitchers were signed and, with the exception of Olivo, no new catchers. But the Mariners do come better prepared this year, filling in positions where they know they lack.