Obviously I've fallen a bit behind on these team outlooks, but I'll keep them going even as they extend into the season. Today we have the Mariners.
Bill Bavasi's contract obligations:
C - Kenji Johjima - $5.2MM + $0.33MM signing bonus = $5.53MM + incentives
C - Rene Rivera - $0.38MM
1B - Richie Sexson - $14MM + 1.5MM signing bonus = 15.5MM
2B - Jose Lopez - $0.38MM
SS - Yuniesky Betancourt - $0.4MM + $0.3275MM signing bonus = $0.7275MM
3B - Adrian Beltre - $11.5MM + 1.4MM signing bonus = $12.9MM
IF - Ben Broussard - $3.55MM
IF - Willie Bloomquist - $0.825MM + $0.05MM signing bonus = $0.875MM
LF - Raul Ibanez - $5.5MM
CF - Ichiro Suzuki - $11MM + $1.5MM signing bonus = $12.5MM + incentives
RF - Jose Guillen - $5MM + incentives
OF - Jeremy Reed - $0.38MM
DH - Jose Vidro - $7.5MM - $2MM from Nats = $5.5MM
SP - Felix Hernandez - $0.42MM
SP - Jarrod Washburn - $8.75MM
SP - Jeff Weaver - $8.325MM + incentives
SP - Miguel Batista - $8.33MM
SP - Horacio Ramirez - $2.65MM
RP - J.J. Putz - $2.2MM + $0.5MM signing bonus = $2.7MM
RP - Chris Reitsma - $1.35MM
RP - Julio Mateo - $1MM + $0.075MM signing bonus = $1.075MM
RP - George Sherrill - $0.38MM
RP - Jake Woods - $0.38MM
RP - Arthur Rhodes - $0.38MM
RP - Jon Huber - $0.38MM
RP - Mark Lowe - $0.38MM
RP - Aaron Small - $0.38MM
SP - Cha Seung Baek - $0.38MM
3B - Sean Burroughs - $0.45MM + incentives
Maybe someone can tell me whether signing bonuses are typically spread throughout the life of the contract. That's what I've done here (the Mariners seem to love signing bonuses). By my calculations this is a $104MM Opening Day payroll. You can't call the team cheap.
The Ms offense was the second-worst in the league last year. They made two change. Jose Vidro, while a subpar DH and lousy acquisition, can't help but improve upon the lackluster performance of Carl Everett and Co. last year. And with Ichiro sticking in center, the Ms are essentially replacing the offense of Reed and Bloomquist with Guillen. The offense appears to have the potential to reach the middle of the pack.
The Mariners have some trade candidates in Reed and Broussard, but given Bavasi's track record, I'd be surprised if he made deals with them to improve the team.
As for the rotation, not giving 25 starts to Joel Pineiro should help. They're going for a mostly groundball approach with this staff, and it should be better. Last year's starters posted a cumulative 4.88 ERA. Lack of Pineiro and a step forward from Felix might be able to put them around 4.50.
Replacing Rafael Soriano with Chris Reitsma in the eighth inning will damage the club. And it's not a big deal yet, but lights out closer J.J. Putz is nursing a tender elbow this spring. The pen could fall apart in a hurry. Last year's group had a 4.04 ERA.
To me, the Mariners have very little chance of making the playoffs this year. I suppose they could pull off an upset with some career years in the rotation, no injuries, and great leaps forward from Lopez and Betancourt. Still, the odds are stacked against them.
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