The Seattle Mariners announced their Opening Day roster Friday. One thing I noticed was that despite the absence of right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma, the 25-man group is clearly better than it was one year ago.
There aren’t any surprises here, considering what took place Tuesday and Wednesday.
|Felix Hernandez, RH||Felix Hernandez, RH|
|Hisashi Iwakuma, RH||Erasmo Ramirez, RH|
|Joe Saunders, LHP||James Paxton, LHP|
|Brandon Maurer, RHP||Roenis Elias, LHP|
|Blake Beavan, RHP||Chris Young, RHP|
Easily there are potential and significant upgrades in the bullpen, having added Fernando Rodney and Danny Farquhar since the start of 2013.
|Tom Wilhelmsen, RH||Fernando Rodney, RH|
|Stephen Pryor, RH||Danny Farquhar, RH|
|Charlie Furbush, LH||Charlie Furbush, LH|
|Lucas Luetge, LH||Joe Beimel, LH|
|Carter Capps, RH||Yoervis Medina, RH|
|Oliver Perez, LH||Tom Wilhelmsen, RH|
|Kameron Loe, RH||Hector Noesi, RH|
Robinson Cano is the obvious upgrade here, but Brad Miller at shortstop also presents a sizable upgrade to Brendan Ryan, who couldn’t hit enough top keep his plus-plus glove in the lineup.
|Justin Smoak||Justin Smoak|
|Kendrys Morales||Logan Morrison|
|Dustin Ackley||Robinson Cano|
|Brendan Ryan||Brad Miller|
|Kyle Seager||Kyle Seager|
|Robert Andino||Willie Bloomquist|
There is a defensive upgrade here, with Dustin Ackley acclimating himself to left field and the presence of both Michael Saunders and Abraham Almonte — adequate in center, above average in a corner for both. When Corey Hart hits right field, he may land somewhere between below average and average, but still that is better than Raul Ibanez and Michael Morse.
|Franklin Gutierrez||Abraham Almonte|
|Michael Saunders||Michael Saunders|
|Raul Ibanez||Dustin Ackley|
|Michael Morse||Stefen Romero|
|Jason Bay||Corey Hart|
Mike Zunino isn’t likely to light the world on fire at the plate and still has work to do defensively, but he’s light years better than Jesus Montero behind the dish and will provide a significant edge offensively, too, even though he may hit .230/.300/.400. John Buck and Kelly Shoppach may be a wash.
|Jesus Montero||Mike Zunino|
|Kelly Shoppach||John Buck|
Jason spent 4 1/2 years at ESPN and two years at CBS Radio prior to joining HERO Sports in July, 2016.
Find Jason's Mariners podcast, Baseball Things, right here and follow him on Twitter @ProspectInsider.
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