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MLB Predictions: Mariners Season Wins Over/Under Odds

2009 Seattle Mariners Wins Predictions – Lines & Baseball Props

Seattle Mariners 2008 Record: 61-101, 39 GB in AL West

By far the most disappointing team in baseball last year, the Mariners and new manager Don Wakamatsu look to return some semblance of respectability to the Pacific Northwest. On paper this was a club filled with promise as it broke camp last March, carrying a pitching staff that had the potential to keep the M’s in the playoff chase all season.In a nutshell, things couldn’t have gone worse. Two newly acquired arms, Erik Bedard and Carlos Silva, were supposed to join phenom Felix Hernandez at the top of a rotation that could compete with the mighty Angels and the rest of the AL. Bedard, a dominating and consistent strikeout machine his previous two seasons in Baltimore, stumbled in his new role and spent a great deal of time on the shelf. In the 15 games he did manage to start, he was at least serviceable and showed brief glimpses of the pitcher ex-GM Bill Bavasi thought he was getting when he traded a flurry of players including top prospect Adam Jones. The same cannot be said for Silva, who had a decent start out of the gate but was a total flop the remainder of the season. Carlos finished by tying a career high in losses with 15 and sporting a horrific 6.46 ERA in 28 starts. Jarrod Washburn and Miguel Batista were no better, each losing 14 games. King Felix, on the other hand, put up some pretty good numbers but failed to win 10 games because of an anemic offense which included catcher Kenji Johjima’s worst season in the bigs and paltry production from guys way past their prime like now-departed veterans Richie Sexson and Jose Vidro. Even Ichiro compiled his lowest batting average since joining the Mariners in 2001. Combine all this negativity with the fact that closer J.J. Putz was only able to get in 47 games because of a rib injury and you have the perfect storm of mediocrity.

Look at the bright side, Seattle fans. This team has nowhere to go but up in 2009, and that should be right where they’re headed. Unfortunately, they’ll have to do it without Putz (now a setup man for the Mets) and one of the most consistent yet underrated bats in the AL over the past several years – left fielder Raul Ibanez, who inked a new deal with the World Champion Phillies. Replacing Ibanez in left is Ken Griffey Jr., who is coming home to a place where he dominated the game for most of the 90s. Now 40 years old and coming off of knee surgery, Junior’s best days are obviously behind him. However, a return to his roots could revitalize him and a productive swan song for the future Hall of Famer is definitely not out of the question. At the very least, having the fun-loving yet professional Griffey in the clubhouse should serve as a positive influence on youngsters like newcomer Franklin Gutierrez and shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt.

The former showed flashes of brilliance in Cleveland but was never able to put it together for a prolonged stretch while the latter is slowly becoming a respectable, albeit light-hitting, option at shortstop. To Betancourt’s right is Adrian Beltre, who has never come close to his 48-homer year with the Dodgers in ’04 but has played Gold Glove defense the past two seasons. To his left at second base is Jose Lopez, who finished third in the AL with 191 hits in ’08 and has been on a tear in this month’s World Baseball Classic. First base is shaping up to what could be a platoon situation, with veterans Russell Branyan, Chris Shelton, Mike Sweeney, and prospect Bryan LaHair in the mix. None of these options really stand out at the moment, and this could wind up being one of the team’s weak spots in both the lineup and in the field, depending on how the Spring battle shakes out.

Behind the plate, Johjima’s struggles last year with the bat and with the pitching staff have put his starting job in jeopardy. 26-year old Jeff Clement, who struggled in 66 games last year but is projected to develop into an everyday player, is nipping at Kenji’s heels and could find himself wearing the mask come Opening Day. The outfield combination of Griffey, Gutierrez, Ichiro, ex-Met Endy Chavez, and powerful prospect Wladimir Balentien should provide decent production on both sides of the ball. I can see Ichiro bouncing back to his earlier form with a more competitive team around him this season, and Chavez can prove to be a valuable role player during the dog days of Summer.

The starting rotation remains largely unchanged from ’08, and Mariners management has been giving all the politically correct answers this Spring when asked about the possibility of these guys bouncing back and showing their “true form”. I have to say that I agree with them to a certain extent. Bedard is healthy, so far, and is one of the best pitchers in the game when he’s actually on the mound. Silva has slimmed down after having issues with his back last year, and he has been great so far in the WBC. So has Hernandez, who just shut down Team Puerto Rico and is still only 22 years old. Throw in the young Brandon Morrow, a newcomer to the rotation with a tremendous upside, and you have what could potentially be a formidable group of arms. The only one I am not sold on as far as a comeback season goes is the lefty Washburn who, although he was coveted by several contenders down the stretch last season, could be in the twilight of a career that once saw him win 18 games. It should be noted that Australian Ryan Rowland-Smith, who impressed last year as both a starter and reliever, also has a shot at cracking this rotation.

Where things may get sticky for the M’s in 2009 is after the starters hit the showers. With Putz and workhorse Sean Green now pitching in Queens and the effective Morrow headed to the rotation, several holes now exist in the pen. The closer’s job is up for grabs, with the veteran Batista (who saved 31 games for the Jays in ’05) battling Mark Lowe and Randy Messenger for the job. Also, former All-Star stopper Chad Cordero was inked to a minor-league deal in the hopes that he can return from torn labrum surgery by the end of April and take over the 9th inning spot. It is too soon to tell how well Cordero will bounce back from this rather serious surgery, however. Even if the aforementioned starters do get it together this season and the lineup gels as they are capable of, I could see a lot of games being lost by this team between the 7th and 9th innings.

100+ losses is not in the cards again for Seattle this year. They may even make some noise in the AL West standings at different points throughout the marathon season. However, they don’t have enough pop or enough relief pitching to pose a real threat for a playoff spot. I think the team will rally around Griffey and their new coaching staff, resulting in some respectable baseball from time to time. Nevertheless, the holes that do exist are too big to hide and they will finish far from a .500 record. I predict that the Mariners will win 75 games in 2009.

2009 Seattle Mariners Wins Predictions:

Bet Online Over/Under: Over/Under 72 1/2 Wins (-110/-120)

Scott’s Prediction: 75 Wins

 

Scott wants to hear from you!!! Hit him up with a comment below!!!  Scott Orgera is a regular contributor to the Capper’s Picks Blog and can be reached at scottorgera @ hotmail.com

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Comments

Comments

  1. Sometimes change can bring dramatic results to a team, and in Seattle’s case they have a chance to really improve over last season’s dismal performance. They will be far more competitive than last season, but I do not see them as a factor in the A.L. West pennant race.

  2. Seattle has a long way to go before they can even be LOOKED AT, but I think they can begin their gradual upward swing this year. Some of these guys have the talent and it could create a “perfect storm” at times throughout the season. I agree that they will win some tough games and it will be great to see Griffey conclude his career back in Seattle. In the steroid era, he’s a tremendous athlete who only needed his pure swing and raw talent.

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