As part of Prospect Insider’s prospect coverage of the Seattle Mariners, I’ve always projected a future lineup and starting rotation. It’s fun to take a 3-year snapshot glance at what the team might look like, based on what the club has now and what’s on its way.
Free agency and trades are not considered and undoubtedly will impact the eventual roster in 2018, but here we go:
|Seattle Mariners Projected 2018 Lineup|
Note the move of Brad Miller to the outfield. In this scenario I have the more sure-handed glove at shortstop, Chris Taylor, taking the gig full-time. Dustin Ackley, Seth Smith, Rickie Weeks and Justin Ruggiano, the Mariners’ current collection of corner outfielders, all will see their current contracts expire. In the case of Ackley and Ruggiano, each will achieve free agent status based on service time, barring new multi-year deals that extend beyond 2017. This is why Miller is listed in the outfield, despite the fact he’s a capable shortstop. If both he and Taylor remain in Seattle, this is the likely end-result.
If prospect Ketel Mate can clean up his work defensively, he has a shot to be the shortstop, too, but at present I don’t project him to beat out Taylor in three years.
And yes, I realize the above projection lacks a center field option. I do not see Miller making that specific transition. Stay tuned, I have something coming on this subject in a week or two.
|Seattle Mariners Projected 2018 Rotation|
|No. 1||Felix Hernandez|
|No. 2||James Paxton|
|No. 3||Taijuan Walker|
|No. 4||Roenis Elias|
|No. 5||Danny Hultzen|
Hultzen is the obvious question mark here and this is an entirely homegrown rotation, albeit one that probably never will be intact for extended periods of time. The Mariners, if they do not re-sign Hisashi Iwakuma before next season, may be in the market to add a veteran starter to fill a No. 2 or No. 3 role — the one Iwakuma is charged with this season — and keeping all of these arms healthy and producing is a tall task. Not impossible or implausible, just not likely.
Jason founded Prospect Insider in 2006 after getting his start at InsidethePark.com. He spent several years covering prep, college and pro sports for various newspapers, including The News Tribune and Seattle PI. 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, at BaseballThingsPod.com.