Excited for the Mariners future!

I know football season starts this Thursday, but before baseball becomes utterly irrelevant in Seattle, I just wanted to take a few minutes to give you all some things to be excited about for next year and beyond.

First of all, management finally signed Jack Zduriencik to an extension.  It took far too long to get this settled, but at least it got done.   Unfortunately not everything Jack has touched has turned to gold (Chone Figgins, I’m talking mainly about you), but overall he has done an outstanding job of building up our farm system by acquiring talent in the draft and through trades.

Because of Jacky Z, we finally have some young, athletic talent!  No more Jose Lopez, or a revolving door in left field, but a myriad of intriguing options.  Dustin Ackley draws comparisons to Chase Utley which has me drooling to see how this kid will grow.  Mike Carp has done the call up thing a few times and might have finally figured it out.  Justin Smoak has shown flashes of what he’s capable of doing (as I’m writing this he ropes a single to right), and am hopeful that he can reach that potential.  Add in Felix and Pineda at the top of the rotation – enough said.  If Ichiro can muster up one final swan song to send him off into Cooperstown in style, this team could make enormous strides next year.

And we finally have some pop!  I know it’s not proven, but we have some legitimate guys who can hit 20+ homers (and hit for average too).  The Mariners have finally found some good left-hand hitters that can hit it out of Safeco.  Mike Carp has had some majestic shots, and Ackley has shown that he can knock one out as well.  It might take Ackley a few years to hit 20+, but it’s not unreasonable to think he could make that jump next year.  Casper Wells never gets cheated, Trayvon Robinson is a wild card as he’s shown nice pop in the minors, and Kyle Seager has shown he can hit doubles which after some experience can translate into home runs as well.

You can have addition by subtraction.  Cutting out Milton Bradley was essential.  Figgins may get it back, but it’s not looking good.  I really just hope he can get good enough to have some trade value next year.  I was sad to see Fister go, especially after his 13K gem last night against the Indians (but good for him to finally get some run support!), but again building up our depth and talent where desperately needed.  2012 projects pretty well if the current roster players build on this recent success they have had individually and have a couple new comers step up.

Current 2012 Lineup Projection:

1. RF Ichiro
2. CF Gutierrez
3. 2B Ackley
4. DH Carp
5. 1B Smoak
6. 3B Seager
7.   C  Olivo
8. SS Ryan
9. LF Robinson

All that with Wells, Peguero, and the other exciting young players who could be there in case someone falters. And that doesn’t even mention the possibility of bringing Prince Fielder in.  I’m not a huge fan of his lack of speed, but a proven lefty cleanup stick that can hit it out of any ballpark and won’t cripple you at first if Smoak doesn’t pan out is fine by me.  Add in Fielder and I like it even more…

1. RF Ichiro
2. CF Gutierrez
3. 2B Ackley
4. DH Fielder
5. LF Carp
6. 1B Smoak
7. 3B Seager
8.   C  Olivo
9. SS Ryan

Now that gives me goosebumps.

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