For Part 1, please click here.
It’s okay if you want to admit you are excited about reading part 2 after indulging in Part 1 of the Mariners spring training recap from yesterday. If you are just now “tuning in”, you really didn’t miss much, but it still should be archived somewhere on the web site if you are having an OCD moment and want to read everything in order. I won’t judge.
Let’s recap 6-through-10 really quick:
10) Danny Valencia
9) Yovanni Gallardo
8) Drew Smyly
7) Jean Segura
6) M’s Bullpen
Now, onto the rest of the list.
5) King Felix is Back-ish
I know – he didn’t really go anywhere to begin with, but his numbers have been dipping a little bit and his right arm is logging a lot of innings. The former Cy Young is undoubtedly the ace of this staff and a leader of this team. He showed that this spring – not only when he was on the mound, but when he was in the clubhouse and around his teammates. He pitched well in the WBC and did what he needed to in order to be ready for Opening Day.
4) Nelson Cruz is a Class Act
What a great guy and teammate Nelson Cruz seems like. I don’t know him at all, really, but if I did I would want to be friends with him. He makes those around him better players and better people. Cruz had excellent numbers this spring and seems really locked in at the plate right now. Even when he makes an out or strikes out, he takes a few pitches, maybe fouls some off first, makes good contact, whatever. He is locked in and ready to lead this team.
3) Who is This Unicorn-Maned Super Utility Player? (Taylor Motter)
I’m not even sure if Taylor Motter expected to make the Mariners at the beginning of training camp. I think technically, he still could not, but I have learned he can play every position – literally. He would be listed as the emergency, back-up catcher, where he played some in AA. He’s got speed, hits for contact pretty well and is a manager’s dream for a utility bench player. Scott Servais can now carry one fewer hitter and an extra bullpen arm mainly because Motter can play anywhere. That’s such a great advantage that can easily get overlooked. His spring numbers by the way to date? In 59 at bats, he hit three home runs, 11 RBI has a .288 average and five steals.
2) Please Stay Healthy, but if not…What’s Plan B?
Everything always look cute and pretty on the surface, until injuries pile up, or the wrong guy goes 0-20 in a week. What if some of that happens? Well let’s say Robinson Cano gets hurt, and Hisashi Iwakuma starts struggling with a 5.00-plus ERA – much better chance of that happening than a Cano injury. If some of that type of stuff happens though, AAA Tacoma will have plenty of arms and bats (Tyler O’Neil) available. Motter can become an everyday player at short, Segura can play second again. If the Mariners have to call up Andrew Moore early or have Vogelbach fill in for Cruz at DH – it can happen. That is an ultimate crap-storm for it to all happen at once, but they are prepared. Lots of players had plenty of success in Arizona this spring and plenty of at-bats with regulars off to the WBC.
1) Mitch Haniger is a Monster
My favorite thing and the most important thing that I took away from the 2017 spring training for the Mariners was the success of 26-year old outfielder, Mitch Haniger. In 72 at-bats through Wednesday, he is hitting .389 with 2 home runs, 11 RBI and three stolen bases. He’s played a solid right field and will look really good hitting hopefully between Cruz and Valencia in the fifth spot.
Simply put – I’m ready for Opening Day – yes, I capitalize it on purpose because it is a national holiday as far as I’m concerned. Finally, MLB will get it right this year and have an actual variety of games on “Opening Day” instead of the weird, awkward two or three opening night games, with a full slate of games on Monday which was deemed “Opening Day”.
Go Mariners. Please stay healthy…you too, readers. Please stay healthy as well. Make good life decisions.