Today is the day! Pitchers and catchers report. The News-Tribune has the M's recharging their batteries. The Times and P-I? No report yet. The M's site focuses on new pitching coach Rafael Chaves.
For a lot of teams, this is the best part of the baseball season. Hope is alive, dreams have yet to be shattered. Hopefully, that won't be true for the Mariners.
Most teams have a lot of questions to be answered in the spring. Position battles, roster spots, etc. Usually the less question marks you have, the better your teams chance of contending. The Mariners are a little different this year. On the one hand, they don't look like a contender. However, they don't really have a lot of questions going into the spring. Why?
1) The rotation seems to be set. Moyer, Washburn, Piniero, Meche, Felix. That is what we want to see. Unless Jesse Foppert (or "Fopp" if USSMariner has anything to say about it) is incredible, the best case scenario would be for those five to be pitching well. Gil and Joel-step it up.
2) The bullpen looks good. Guardado will close, with Putz, Soriano as the main setup guys and Mateo, Sherril, and (gulp) Thornton in the mix as well. There are a few guys who could be fighting for a spot, but the 'pen is probably the M's biggest strength.
3) Oddly, the lineup is probably set too. Maybe:
While that lineup certainly doesn't wake up memories of the '97 team, there aren't a lot of position battles going into the spring. Wee Willie Bloomquist may challenge Lopez to work a little harder, but, with few tweaks in the order, more than likely that is your lineup.
Having said that, there are a TON of questions going into the regular season. But we'll address those after the spring. For now, GET FIRED UP!!! BASEBALL IS BACK!!!