Welcome! Login | Register

2019 NCAA Tournament – How To Set Your March Madness Bracket Around Pac-12 Teams—2019 NCAA Tournament – How To Set Your…

March Madness 2019 – Can The Oregon Ducks Get Back To The Elite Eight?—March Madness 2019 – Can The Oregon Ducks…

I Have 3 Months To Train For The Wild Rogue Relay—I Have 3 Months To Train For The…

20 Ways To Increase Circulation—20 Ways To Increase Circulation

Trail Blazers Weekly Preview – Sabonis 2.0, Dirk’s Rip City Swan Song, Blake Of House Piston Invades—Trail Blazers Weekly Preview – Sabonis 2.0, Dirk’s…

VIDEO: ‘Surf Rock’ Creator Dick Dale Dead at 81—VIDEO: 'Surf Rock' Creator Dick Dale Dead at…

The Presidential Primary Parade Marches On - Sunday Political Brunch March 17, 2019—The Presidential Primary Parade Marches On - Sunday…

Predicting The Seattle Seahawks’ 2019 Draft—Predicting The Seattle Seahawks’ 2019 Draft

49 Killed in Mass Multi-Mosque Shooting in Christchurch, NZ, Shooter Livestreamed Massacre—49 Killed in Mass Multi-Mosque Shooting in Christchurch,…

I’m Ready To Become A Fan Of Hockey In Seattle—I’m Ready To Become A Fan Of Hockey…


What Might a 2016 Seattle Mariners Roster Look Like?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


As new GM Jerry Dipoto has stated, there are a few core players – namely Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, Kyle Seager, and Felix Hernandez – to build the 2016 roster around. A few more games of the ALCS, then the World Series, and the winter meetings before free agency really heats up. Then Seattle Mariners fans can see what they have in Dipoto. 

Here’s a look at what next season’s roster might look like, could look like, and should look like if ownership is willing to spend. 


2015 saw many struggles for young catcher Mike Zunino, as he hit well below the Mendoza line (.174) and struck out at a mind boggling 34.2% of the time. In late September, the Mariners sent Zunino to the instructional league to work on his approach at the plate, with an emphasis on making contact more often. With obvious raw power, if Zunino could even manage .220 or .230 with an on base in the low .300’s (he was .230 in 2015), he could be a major asset behind the plate. That’s if. 

He’s considered one of the better pitch framers and seems to handle the staff well for someone who will only be 25 in spring training. And, he does not reach free agency until 2020. It’s probably wise, given the upside and also the club friendly contract (Zunino made $524K last year) to stay the course and hope for a break through next season.

But for insurance purposes, the Mariners might consider signing a veteran free agent catcher to a one or two year deal. The problem is, that with the exception of 39 year old A.J. Perzynski, who may end up retiring, most of the available catchers are fairly young and fairly talented. Matt Wieters is almost guaranteed to get a five or six year deal and the Dioner Navaro, Alex Avila, Chris Ianetta, Geovany Soto types might also command three or four year deals. 

Catcher may end up being one of the trickier pieces to the 2016 puzzle for new GM, Jerry Dipoto

First Base   

You know the old adage, “If you have two quarterbacks, you don’t have a quarterback?” That may be the case for the Mariners at 1B. Between Logan Morrison, Mark Trumbo, and Jesus Montero, the Mariners don’t really have a first base man. 

Morrison hit .225/.302/.383 in 511 PA, with subpar to poor defense, on his way to a -0.2 WAR. 

Trumbo, between Arizona and Seattle, hit a decent .263/.310/.449 with 22 HR, but struck out 24.2% of the time. He’d be Ok if he could just DH, but ideally the M’s would like to get Nelson Cruz out of RF (also a major defensive liability) and slotted in at DH much more often. Trumbo gave up about one game (9.7 runs) as a fielder and managed only a 1.1 WAR for the season. 
And then there’s Montero, who struck out 27.5% of the time and managed to cost the Mariners 4.2 runs in just 38 games.  

The top free agent at 1B is clearly Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles. Davis bounced back from an abysmal 2014 campaign to hit .262/.361/.552 with 47 HR, 100 R, and 117 RBI. Yes, he strikes out too much (31% for his career), but he does get on base (.370 in 2013 - .361 in 2015 - .330 lifetime). And, he’s no worse defensively than the current Mariners triumvirate. But at 29, he’s going to probably want a 7 to 10 year deal, way north of $100M, which would be the third such contract on the Mariners books. Not likely. 
The Toronto Blue Jays are going to pick up Edwin Encarnacion’s $10M option, a no brainer at that price. The Milwaukee Brewers should definitely pick up Adam Lind’s $8M option. That leaves the likes of Mike Napoli and Mark Reynolds, who may not be any better than Mark Trumbo.

So at first, the options seem to be to spend big or stand pat. Given the good options in the OF in free agency, the Mariners will probably stand pat. 

Robinson Cano

Second Base  

For better or worse, the Mariners are set at second. Robinson Cano is signed through 2023, his age 40 season, and is owed $192M. After a dismal first half, Cano showed signs of his old self in the second half. He underwent surgery for a double sports hernia on October 13th and Mariners fans have to believe such an injury contributed greatly to his reduced production. 


After constantly juggling Brad Miller and Chris Taylor at short, the Mariners may have found a shortstop in 22 year old Ketel Marte. In 247 PA over 57 games, Marte put up an impressive slash line of .283/.351/.402 with 8 steals. While he clearly lacks pop, he’s consistently gotten on base in the minors, has decent speed, and good defense. 

The clear prize in free agency, who can probably be signed below his market value, given the poor season, is Ian Desmond, formerly of the Washington Nationals. After three consecutive +4 WAR seasons, Desmond struggled with a .233/.290/.384 slash line and a 1.7 WAR. Expect a bounce back with a change of scenery. 
The question for the Mariners is whether to chase a proven commodity in Desmond, or to go the cheaper, in-house route, and give Marte the reigns for a full season to see what they have. 

Third Base  

Third base is another position where the Mariners are set for the foreseeable future. Kyle Seager is signed through 2021, having just finished the first year of his seven year $100M contract. The past four seasons, Seager has generated 3.6, 4.0, 5.5, and 3.9 WAR. At 28 on opening day next season, Seager is arguably the best investment the M’s have on the books.  

Designated Hitter

Nelson Cruz was one of the few bright spots for the Mariners in 2015. His season at the plate was almost Ruthian or Bondsian. He hit .302/.369/.566 with 44 HR, 90 R, and 93 RBI for a weighted runs created plus (wRC+) of 158, or 58% better than league average. 

But, Cruz needs to stay out of the outfield, as he cost the team 17.6 runs, or almost two full wins. His 4.8 WAR would have been in the mid 6’s if he had just stuck to hitting, which is what he needs to do in 2016. 


The outfield, along with the bullpen, is an area that could use a complete overhaul. Hopefully under Dipoto, the endless experiments of moving weak hitting infielders to the outfield will end and an emphasis will be made on defense, given the expanse of Safeco Field. 

Yoenis Cespedes and Justin Upton are the cream of the free agent crop in left. 

Anyone who has been watching the New York Mets during the playoffs knows that Cespedes has a cannon for an arm. With both the Boston Red Sox and the Mets, he hit .291/.328/.542, with 35 HR, 101 R, and 105 RBI. He’s listed at 30 years old, which may or may not be 100% accurate. Coming off a four year $38M contract, he should command big numbers this offseason. 

Justin Upton just turned 28 and is finishing up a six year $51.2M contract. His lifetime .352 OBP is enticing, even with slightly below average defense. 
In center, assuming the Mariners don’t want to re-court Austin Jackson, Denard Span could be a nice little bargain, coming off a season in which he only played in 61 games for the Nationals. A very disciplined hitter, Span sports a .352 lifetime OBP and whiffs at a meagre 11.4% rate. His previous five year contract was for just a little over $3M per, and a similar contract for the M’s could go a long way to signing at least one premium free agent. 

Jason Heyward, at 26, is the prize in right field, but presumably he’d want to stay in Sr. Louis. Still the Mariners should at least kick the tires. He’s a plus defender, and while he hasn’t developed the power many projected, he gets on base (.353 lifetime) and makes contact (14.8% strikeout rate last season). 

Look for at least two, if not three new faces in the outfield for 2016.  

David Price

Starting Pitching

New GM, Jerry Dipoto, has made it clear that re-signing Hisashi Iwakuma is a top priority. But with Iwakuma at 35, coming off an injury plagued season in which he started only 20 games, the Mariners might want to look to free agency to shore up the rotation. 

Zach Grienke is the gem that might make the New York Yankees fall off the spending wagon once again. Grienke is going to get somewhere in the neighborhood of $30M a year, and that pretty much means he’ll be pitching in New York, Los Angeles, or Boston. 

David Price and Johnny Cueto round out the second tier. Given their struggles in the post-season, it will be interesting to see if their market value drops. 

Jeff Samardzija stands on the rung just above Brett Anderson, Wei-Yin Chin, Marco Estrada, Doug Pfister, Scott Kazmir, Ian Kennedy, and Jordan Zimmerman (there’s even more depth, but you get the idea). This is the range the Mariners should be targeting, solid twos or threes for $10M to $12M per year. 

The Bullpen 

Teams like the Kansas City Royals continue to show how important a plus bullpen is for success in the new world of pitching. Used to be, the conventional wisdom was to work the count, get the starter’s pitch count up, and then feast on the bullpen. Today, teams need to score early, because they’re not going to score in the later innings. Unless, of course, you were facing the Seattle Mariners in 2015. The Mariners bullpen was the opposite of intimidating. 

Bullpen construction can be a crapshoot, as they tend to fluctuate the most from season to season. Case in point, the 2014 Mariners bullpen versus the 2015 Mariners bullpen. The biggest challenge for Dipoto won’t be identifying hitters to pursue – there are a lot of them –  or even pitchers, it will be constructing a solid bullpen that won’t blow 21 saves like last year, and often times that’s just luck. 

Some interesting right handed relievers include: Trevor Cahill, Tyler Clippard, Ernesto Frieri (who closed in LA when Dipoto was GM for the Angels), Tommy Hunter, Bobby Parnell, and Joakim Soria. 
Lefties include Antonio Bastardo and Ross Detwiler.  

Tom Wilhelmsen should be back and doesn’t hit free agency until 2018. Carson Smith, who took over as the closer after Fernando Rodney was traded to the Chicago Cubs, doesn’t even become arbitration eligible until 2018, with free agency five years away? Beyond those two, starting over might be prudent. 

Let’s See What Happens

A lot will depend on how much ownership is willing to spend, but an improved Mike Zunino, the continuing development of Ketel Marte, and maybe a Denard Span on the cheap, could open up the possibilities of landing a Justin Upton, Yoenis Cespedes, or Jason Heyward and really adding some pop. Adding a starter would be nice, but maybe not a priority. And then there’s the bullpen. Let’s see what you’ve got Jerry Dipoto. 

GoLocalPDX partner Oregon Sports News: Since 2011, Oregon Sports News has provided entertaining, hard-hitting local sports news & commentary every weekday. To read more from this author, check out Oregon Sports News by clicking here.


Related Slideshow: Oregon’s Most Devastating Sports Injuries

Here is GoLocalPDX's list of Oregon's most devastating injuries that have occured within the past 10 years.

Prev Next

Greg Oden

Sept. 2007 — Micro fracture surgery on right knee

Dec. 2009 — Fractured left patella 

Nov. 2010 — Micro fracture surgery on left knee

Dec. 2011 — Arthroscopic surgery on right knee

Unfortunately, Trail Blazer fans everywhere already know how drafting Greg Oden over Kevin Durant worked out for their team. After being be the #1 selection in the 2007 NBA Draft, Oden was never able to play a full season due to ongoing knee injuries. The team eventually waived him in March of 2012.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
Prev Next

Dennis Dixon

Nov. 2007 — Torn left ACL

During the 2007 season Dixon had the Oregon Ducks as the #2 team in the country. That was until he suffered a torn ACL against Arizona State and attempted to play on it the following week against Arizona. After Dixon went down for the season the Ducks lost their remaining two regular season games. Fortunately, they were able to end their season on a high note with a victory over South Florida in the 2007 Sun Bowl.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
Prev Next

Brandon Roy

Sept. 2008 — Cartilage removed from left knee

April 2010 — Meniscus tear in right knee

Jan. 2011 — Arthroscopic surgery on both knees

Brandon Roy is perhaps one of the most beloved Trail Blazers in the history of the franchise. After being drafted in 2006, and leading the team out of the "Jail-Blazer" era, he had to make the tough decision to retire at the young age of 28. His degenerative knees prevented Rip City from seeing their superstar ever play to his full potential.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
Prev Next

Jacquizz Rodgers

Nov. 2008 — Grade II separation of the acromioclavicular joint

During the second to last game in 2008 Jacquizz Rodgers suffered a separated shoulder that ended his season. Unfortunately, this meant that he wasn't able to play in the Civil War, which was perhaps the biggest game of the year for the Beavers. If the Beavers had been able to defeat the Ducks they would've been able to book their tickets to play in the Rose Bowl. Instead, they went to the Sun Bowl where they defeated the Pittsburgh Panthers.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
Prev Next

James Rodgers

Oct. 2009 — Torn left ACL

After participating in only 4 games during the 2009 season Rodgers went down with a torn ACL while playing against #9 Arizona. This couldn't have come at a worse time for Rodgers considering he was expected to have a breakout season. Rodgers, who was a senior at the time, was able to end his career at Oregon State as the career leader in all-purpose yards.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
Prev Next

Joel Pryzbilla

Dec. 2009 — Ruptured right patella tendon and dislocated patella

In December of 2009 the Trail Blazers' backup center, Joel Pryzbilla, was lost for the season with a ruptured and dislocated patella. This was a huge blow to the Trailblazers' frontcourt because they had already lost Oden for the season a few weeks before. Pryzbilla was also the team's defensive anchor who provided an inside presence. "The Vanilla Gorilla" was sorely missed for the rest of the year.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropepd)
Prev Next

LaMichael James

Oct. 2011 — Dislocated right elbow

The 2011 season couldn't have started any better for LaMichael James. After the first game James became Oregon's career rushing leader, surpassing Derek Loville. During the second game he rushed for over 200 yards against Missouri State. Unfortunately, James' year was slowed by a dislocated elbow suffered against Cal. Luckily for Duck fans he was able to return to end the season.

Photo via Facebook (image cropped)
Prev Next

Nate Costa

Nov. 2010 —Torn Right ACL

After suffering a multitude of knee injuries throughout his career at Oregon Costa was forced to officially retire from football after tearing his ACL for the third time in agame against Washington. Although Costa's career was hobbled by injuries many of his teammates looked to him as their leader. Oregon's coaching staff referred to Costa as the "heart and soul" of the 2010 team that won the Rose Bowl.

Photo via Addictedtoquack (image cropped)
Prev Next

Sean Mannion

Oct. 2012 — Torn Left Meniscus

During the beginning of the 2012-2013 season, Sean Mannion was enjoying one of his best as a Beaver. Unfortunately, he tore his left meniscus against Washington State that resulted in him missing around half the season. With Mannion leading the way the Beavers had the Pac-12's fourth rated offense, averaging 459.5 yeards per game. With Mannion sidelined Cody Vaz became the starting quarterback

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
Prev Next

Marcus Mariota

Oct. 2013 — Partial MCL Tear

Marcus Mariota is widely regarded as one of the greatest Oregon Duck quarterbacks to ever play at Autzen. Unfortunately a knee injury hobbled his sophomore season. After Mariota suffered a partial MCL tear against UCLA he conintued to play the remainder of the season. With Mariota's knee not allowing him to be as mobile as he was accustomed to teams were able to take advantage. In the weeks following the injury the Ducks suffered losses to Stanford and Arizona. Duck fans everywhere would like to know what that season woud've loked like if Mariota had stayed healthy.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
Prev Next

CJ McCollum

Oct. 2013 — Broken fifth Metatarsal In Left Foot

After being taken 10th overall during the 2013 NBA Draft the shooting guard out of Lehigh wasn't able to start his career the way many had hoped. After breaking the fifth metatarsal bone in his left foot the rookie wasn't able to take the court until January of 2014. Before the injury McCollum was in consideration for playing time behind Lillard. 

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
Prev Next

Alex Morgan

Oct. 2013 — Stress reaction in talus bone

During the 2013 season Morgan suffered an injury that doctors misdiagnosed as a mildly sprained ankle. After a few additional tests were performed it turned out that Morgan had suffered a far more serious injury. She actually suffered a stress reaction in the talus bone that put her immediate future with Team USA in question. After rehabbing for 7 months Morgan was able to make a full recovery.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
Prev Next

Bralon Addison

April 2014 — Torn left ACL

After exceeding expectations as a freshman and sophomore at the University of Oregon Addison was expecting big things from his junior year. Unfortunately, Addison suffered a torn ACL during last year's spring practice that kept him sidelined the entire year. Without Addison in the lineup the receiving core never lived up to their full potential. If he had been able to play this season the National Championship may have wielded a different outcome.

Photo via Facebook (image cropped)
Prev Next

Ifo Ekpre-Olomu

Dec. 2014 — Torn ACL

In preparation for the first ever college football playoffs Ekpre-Olomu ended up tearing his ACL during a routine practice. This was a huge blow to the Ducks considering Ekpre-Olomu was one of the team's better defenders. He was also one of the best corners in the country who many analysists expected to be selected as high as the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
Prev Next

Wesley Matthews

March 2015 — Torn left achilles

Just 2 months before Matthews suffered a torn achilles he had become the Trailblazers' all-time leader in 3-point field goals made. It looked as though the Trailblazers were poised to make a deep playoff run. Things took a drastic turn when Matthews was lost for the season. With the team in a 0-2 hole against the Memphis Grizzlies it doesn't look as though they will be making it to the second round of the playoffs this year.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)

Related Articles


Enjoy this post? Share it with others.

Delivered Free Every
Day to Your Inbox