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Sports Writer Says Mariners Have No Chance in 2012

Spring training and hope lives…will this be the season the Mariners turn it around this year?   NOT according to Jon Paul Morosi writing on  line for FOX Sports.  Morosi say there are 5 teams that are already waving the white flag of surrender based on the moves they made or didn’t make during the off season and the M’s are on his list….along with the Mets, Astros, White Sox and Athletics.  Check out his analysis and see if you agree. Morosi writes….”I understand why the Mariners made their blockbuster trade with the Yankees: They scored the fewest runs in the American League in each of the past three seasons. They were starving for offense, and the big free agents weren’t willing to come to Seattle. So, they traded from what they believe is a position of strength — the starting rotation — to acquire a power hitter who won’t become a free agent for six more years.

But it will be almost impossible for this deal — right-handers Michael Pineda and Jose Campos to New York; catcher/designated hitter Jesus Montero and right-hander Hector Noesi to Seattle — to look like a win for the Mariners in the near term. Pineda will be a key starting pitcher for a Yankees team that appears destined for the postseason. Montero doesn’t yet have a defined role in the everyday lineup of the still-rebuilding Mariners.

The trade weakened the 2012 Mariners, because Pineda was essential to any scenario in which they finished close to .500. Now the rotation includes Felix Hernandez, Jason Vargas, Hisashi Iwakuma and some combination of Noesi, Blake Beavan, Kevin Millwood and Charlie Furbush. And that won’t be good enough to compete with the Angels and Rangers.

Unquestionably, the pitching prospects are coming: Danny Hultzen, James Paxton, Erasmo Ramirez, and, in time, the electrifying Taijuan Walker. But their biggest impact — at least in their ability to go pitch-for-pitch with Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and C.J. Wilson — won’t come until 2013 or 2014.

“With those young guys, I’m not going to make any bold statements,” Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said. “I’m just going to let them compete. The young kids probably need more seasoning — but there were people in the organization who felt that way about Pineda a year ago.”

Of perhaps greater importance, the Mariners must find out very quickly which hitters can give them All-Star-caliber production and provide the foundation for a post-Ichiro lineup.

Can Franklin Gutierrez stay healthy? Is Casper Wells an everyday outfielder? Will Mike Carp hit his way into the lineup while playing passable defense? Is Justin Smoak going to justify the Cliff Lee trade? Where do Kyle Seager and Alex Liddi fit? Can Montero catch?

At the very least, the Mariners need answers. That way, next offseason can be about getting the franchise back to the postseason for the first time since 2001.”  Jon Paul Morosi Fox Sports

 

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