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Mariners hope offseason additions have closed hole in AL West

SEATTLE (AP) — Jerry Dipoto saw up close last year during the regular season and again in October where the differences lie if the Seattle Mariners expect to close the gap on Houston in the AL West. While this winter lacked any significant splashes in free agency, Dipoto said Wednesday the Mariners are confident they’re

Mariners hope offseason additions have closed hole in AL West

SEATTLE (AP) — Jerry Dipoto noticed up shut final 12 months through the common season and once more in October the place the variations lie if the Seattle Mariners count on to shut the hole on Houston within the AL West.

Whereas this winter lacked any important splashes in free company, Dipoto mentioned Wednesday the Mariners are assured they’re an improved group from the one which final season ended the longest playoff drought in baseball.

“The purpose yearly is to win the division, get into the postseason and attempt to do some harm. We’ve by no means been extra satisfied of this group’s capability to do these issues than we have been on the finish of final season,” mentioned Dipoto, Seattle’s president of baseball operations. “I believe that goes for all of the gamers within the clubhouse as a result of for us within the entrance workplace, our employees, we do really feel like we bought meaningfully higher this offseason and we’re a deeper, extra full group than we have been on the finish of final season.”

There’s a buzz and pleasure in regards to the Mariners within the Pacific Northwest that’s been lacking for the higher a part of twenty years. Final season’s run to a wild-card berth and playoff collection win over Toronto — and all of the dramatics that surrounded it — reinvigorated the slumbering baseball area.

However capitalizing on that — in a season that additionally consists of Seattle internet hosting the All-Star Sport — means closing floor on the World Collection champion Astros each on the subject of the common season but in addition within the playoffs. It was Houston that received the AL West by 16 video games after which swept second-place Seattle out of the Division Collection on the energy of some huge swings.

So the query stays whether or not the Mariners did sufficient this offseason to be a menace to the Astros. Seattle’s basis will proceed to be its beginning pitching and the on a regular basis gamers again from final 12 months like AL Rookie of the 12 months Julio Rodríguez, Ty France, J.P. Crawford and others.

The Mariners added second baseman Kolten Wong, outfielders Teoscar Hernández and AJ Pollock, and infielder Tommy La Stella. And whereas these additions ought to give Seattle a deeper and extra versatile roster, they weren’t seen from the surface as being impactful sufficient to make up the distinction.

“It was a battle for us offensively final 12 months, definitely early within the season, getting constant offense up and down the lineup,” Seattle supervisor Scott Servais mentioned. “So with extra expertise, guys going by issues late within the season, within the playoffs, hopefully will actually assist us getting off to a little bit bit higher begin. And we’ve added some items.”

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Seattle is predicted to lose a number of gamers to the World Baseball Basic throughout spring coaching. Rodríguez, Hernández and reliever Diego Castillo are all anticipated to play for the Dominican Republic; third baseman Eugenio Suárez with Venezuela; reliever Matt Festa with Italy; reliever Matt Brash with Canada and high prospect Harry Ford with Nice Britain.

One identify notably lacking from the listing is beginning pitcher Luis Castillo, who was anticipated to be a part of the formidable Dominican employees. Dipoto mentioned Castillo has opted to not pitch within the occasion.

“It’s one thing that we’re happy with that he’ll be (at spring coaching),” Dipoto mentioned. “It’s a alternative that we made collectively and I’m excited to see him from starting to finish.”

Seattle is notably antsy in regards to the WBC after shedding pitcher Drew Smyly to Tommy John surgical procedure after pitching within the match in 2017. Felix Hernandez additionally pitched within the WBC that 12 months and ended up with two prolonged stints on the injured listing as a result of shoulder troubles.

“It’s early within the season and these guys are taking part in at such a excessive depth degree after they haven’t been doing that for plenty of months, so that you’re at all times nervous about harm,” Servais mentioned. “You need these guys to be wholesome. These are definitely key contributors for us going into the season.”


The Mariners count on to be principally wholesome when spring coaching begins. Seattle catcher Cal Raleigh is absolutely recovered from offseason thumb surgical procedure. Sam Haggerty had surgical procedure to restore a groin harm sustained late final season, however has began full baseball exercise. Aid pitcher Andrés Muñoz had foot surgical procedure however ought to pitch throughout spring coaching, and Dipoto mentioned former first-round draft choose Evan White is absolutely wholesome after two-plus seasons of coping with accidents.


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