Mariners 2017 preview: Will busy offseason turn Seattle into contender?

By Joe Rodgers 30 March 2017
Mariners 2017 preview: Will busy offseason turn Seattle into contender?

The Mariners have just 13 winning seasons in 40 years, but after a busy offseason, general manager Jerry Dipoto's roster looks to build on an 86-win season and challenge the Rangers for second place in the AL West and contend for a wild-card spot. 

Dipoto has made more moves than any GM this winter and has revamped the Mariners roster. Gone are pitchers Taijuan Walker, Nate Karns, Vidal Nuno and batters Seth Smith and Ketel Marte. 

Alongside core batters Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, and Kyle Seager, Dipoto acquired veteran speedsters Jean Segura and Jarrod Dyson. He also added a solid platoon player in Danny Valencia, who crushes lefties. 

Starters Drew Smyly (career 3.74 ERA) and Yovani Gallardo (3.79) round out a solid rotation led by Felix Hernandez. Closer Edwin Diaz will be joined by newcomers Marc Rzepczynski and Dan Altavilla. 

Despite the moves, Baseball Prospectus and FanGraphs each project the Mariners' win total to be the same as last season. With the Astros favored in the division, Seattle can't afford to go 7-12 against the Rangers like in 2016. 

Seattle Mariners schedule 2017

The Mariners begin the 2017 schedule on baseball's opening day April 3 against the AL West-favorites Astros at 8:10 p.m. ET. Following the four-game series, Seattle heads to Los Angeles before their home opener. 

The first game of the 2017 MLB season at Seattle's Safeco Field is April 10 against the Astros. The M's will be home for nine games before embarking on another road trip to end April with 17 of their first 26 games on the road. 

Seattle Mariners roster

Mariners projected opening day lineup

1. Jarrod Dyson, OF
2. Jean Segura, SS
3. Robinson Cano, 2B
4. Nelson Cruz, DH
5. Kyle Seager, 3B
6. Mitch Haniger, OF
7. Dan Vogelbach, 1B
8. Mike Zunino, C
9. Leonys Martin, OF

Mariners projected rotation

1. Felix Hernandez, RHP
2. Hisashi Iwakuma, RHP
3. James Paxton, LHP
4. Drew Smyly, LHP
5. Yovani Gallardo, RHP

Mariners projected bullpen 

Closer: Edwin Diaz, RHP
Setup: Nick Vincent, RHP
Setup: Steve Cishek, RHP

Mariners fantasy baseball sleeper

James Paxton, SP: The southpaw hasn't able to put his skill set together, at least for a full season. The 28-year-old started 31 games between Triple-A and the majors last season and a 2.80 FIP, 8.7 K:9 ratio, 1.8 BB:9 ratio hint at a possible breakout year. 

Mariners top prospect(s)

Kyle Lewis won the Golden Spikes Award in college at Mercer after batting .395 with 20 homers and 70 runs scored. The 6-4 outfielder is working his way back from a torn ACL but has the power and defense to make it in MLB. 

Another top-100 prospect and fellow outfielder Tyler O’Neill finished 2015 with 32 homers, good for the second-most in the minor leagues. This past season at Double-A Jackson, he belted 24 dingers while batting .293. 

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Joe Rodgers

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