The Seattle Mariners made the biggest noise this off-season with the free agent signing of Robinson Cano. Cano was without question the prized acquisition of the 2014 free agent class. So we all know about Cano, but what did the Mariners do to protect their superstar and contend this year? A lot.
The team signed Logan Morrison and slugger Corey Hart. Morrison is surrounded by the word "potential" and he has not stayed healthy for an entire season. He has real potential to have an OPS of.800 with 30+ HR and 100+ RBI over a 140 game season. If Morrison doesn’t get pitchers to throw to Cano or Hart will. Hart has shown a strong combination of average and power. From 2010 - 2012, Hart averaged .279 BA, 29 HR and had a .857 OPS. That is plenty of protection for Cano.
The additional signing of Willie Bloomquist and retaining of Franklin Gutierrez gives the Mariners solid back up options if the injury bug hits the Pacific Northwest. And do not overlook the signing of offensive minded head coach Lloyd McClendon. Yes, that Lloyd McClendon, who was the hitting coach for the first Triple Crown winner in 45 years, Miguel Cabrera.
The last key piece is the Mariners willingness and desire to continue spending. Their leftover needs are pitching, outfield and first base. While they most likely will not be able to fill all three, a combination of any two of the three is realistic. If the Mariners stick with their current game plan of offense, I would expect to see Kendrys Morales back in teal and Nelson Cruz gives legitimate backup to Cano. If the Mariners decide to strengthen an already good rotation, you should see Bronson Arroyo logging 200+ innings in Seattle.
Without additional moves, the Mariners have what it takes to contend for a wild card spot this year. If they fill one, two or all three of their remaining needs, the Mariners will be in a war with the rest of the AL West for a division title. It won't be easy, but maybe the 12th man Seattle has become famous for will start to attend Mariners games in 2014.
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