Projected 2017 Seattle Mariners Roster

Projected Starting Lineup (RHP)

NO.
PLAYER
POS.
BATS
1 Jarrod Dyson LF L
2 Jean Segura SS R
3 Robinson Cano 2B L
4 Nelson Cruz DH R
5 Kyle Seager 3B L
6 Danny Valencia 1B R
7 Leonys Martin CF L
8 Mike Zunino/Carlos Ruiz C R
9 Haniger/Hamel RF R/L

The club likely tinkers with what to do between Segura and Dyson at the top of the order. I still much prefer Seager at No.2  but Scott Servais doesn’t appear to believe in the ‘best hitter get more at-bats’ theory.

FTR, my lineup would be:
Segura, Seager, Cano, Cruz, Valencia, Martin, Haniger, Zunino, Dyson.

Projected Starting Lineup (LHP)

NO.
PLAYER
POS.
BATS
1 Jean Segura SS S
2 Heredia/Haniger LF/RF R
3 Robinson Cano 2B L
4 Nelson Cruz DH R
5 Kyle Seager 3B L
6 Danny Valencia 1B R
7 Mike Zunino/Carlos Ruiz C R
8 Leonys Martin CF L
9 Motter/Heredia RF/LF R

Valencia could be a candidate in the No. 2 spot versus lefties,  as could Motter. Shawn O’Malley also is an option as the utilty player. As constructed, one of O’Malley or Motter has to make the club as the best backup shortstop options on the 40-man roster. Another acquisition is plausible.

Ruiz will get starts at least a few times per week, but since he and Zunino both are right-handed bats there’s no natural platoon advantage.

Projected Starting Rotation

NO.
PLAYER
THROWS
1 Felix Hernandez R
2 Hisashi Iwakuma R
3 Drew Smyly L
4 James Paxton L
5 Yovani Gallardo R

There’s upside in four of the five and essentially swapping out Taijuan Walker and Ariel Miranda at season’s end for Gallardo and Smyly is advantage 2017 in terms of reliability. Miranda and Chris Heston are the top options to come up from Tacoma and fill in when the need arises.

Projected Bullpen

ROLE
PLAYER
THROWS
CL Edwin Diaz R
RSU Steve Cishek R
LSU Marc Rzepczynski L
RMI Dan Altavilla R
RMI Tony Zych R
RMI Evan Scribner R
RMI Nick Vincent R

The hierarchy in front of Diaz is likely to be fluid all year outside Rzepczynski being the top, and perhaps only left-hander.

Miranda could be an option in the bullpen, too, and James Pazos will have a shot to win a job in March.

The club’s pitching depth as a whole is significantly deeper with the likes of Jean Machi, Casey Fien, Jonathan Aro, Rob Whalen, and James Pazos also in camp a of 3.25.17.

Shae Simmons eventually will be an option provided he’s healthy, and Nick Hagadone could be another left-on-left option. The rotation depth goes beyond Heston and Miranda with Dillon Overton and Cody Martin.

Motter will break camp as the utility player with Shawn O’Malley fighting injury but O’Malley is the better middle infielder, the better outfielder and the better baserunner. Motter has more upside at the plate.

The Mariners have a decision to make in the outfield. Leonys Martin and Jarrod Dyson are sure things, Mitch Haniger will be the third outfielder and get a lot of time in right field.

Who gets the fourth outfielder role? Guillermo Heredia or Ben Gamel?

Motter’s presence means only one of them is necessary. The left-handed hitting Gamel is the better talent but has more of a split issue at the plate than does Heredia and two of the three ‘starters’ in the outfield are left-handed.

For balance purposes, Heredia makes the most sense. Motter, however, is right-handed, too, alleviating some of the concern.

I’d choose Heredia. But here’s the capper: They can keep both.

With Daniel Vogelbach being optioned it leaves Valencia as the lone first baseman, once again allowing the Mariners to carry a legit full bench, rather than wasting one on a second first-base only player.

That makes the bench:

Motter
Heredia
Ruiz
Gamel

I suspect once O’Malley is healthy we could see a move to create more flexibility. Motter, it should be noted, is a sub par shortstop. O’Malley is much more reliable there.