Strengths: Apparently a free spending owner. We have heard for a few years that the Seattle Mariners were prepared to spend big in free agency with no big moves, until this year. The massive Robinson Cano signing started it off, but they weren’t done there, and I don’t believe they are done yet. The Mariners have added plenty of power by also signing Corey Hart and trading for Logan Morrison. The Mariners also have a great one-two punch at the top of the rotation and several big league ready starters in the farm system.
Weaknesses: Bullpen and center. The Mariners do not have a guy who can be trusted to close out games, and currently have failed second baseman Dustin Ackley penciled in center. In addition, the DH will likely be Justin Smoak with Jesus Montero waiting in the wings, but neither have proven they can do anything impressive at the big league level.
Off-Season Needs: Rumors continue to swirl the Mariners are interested in trading for Matt Kemp, or singing Shin-Soo Choo or Nelson Cruz. I don’t get the Cruz signing if they go that direction unless it is followed by trading both Ackley and Smoak, to open center for Michael Saunders and allow Hart and Morrison to spend some time at DH to rest both guys bad knees.
2014 Projection: I am pretty high on the Mariners, but still see them finishing third in the division. I like what they are doing, and wouldn’t be surprised if they finish ahead of the Texas Rangers, but I think they will end up around 85 wins. They probably need another year to work in their young pitchers and still need a piece or two to solidify the outfield and figure out if the left side of the infield is good enough to be a contender.