By Jake Garcia @JakeFG
Only 10 days stand between the fans and their first glimpse of the 2016 Seattle Mariners doing actual baseball things near an actual baseball field. So to fill the void until February 19th, here are 10 things all Seattle fans should look forward to in 2016.
1) Felix doing Felix-y things. Again.
Year in and year out, Felix Hernandez performs. As sure as the world rotates, Felix dominates. Now, with what should be a reasonably decent offense and some defensive upgrades behind him, Hernandez is poised to do some pretty incredible things.
2) Cano getting back on track.
Even the most pessimistic outlooks for Cano’s projected performance have him returning to semi-regular form. And let’s be honest here, who isn’t looking forward to seeing this swing again?
3) Playoffs? Playoffs? Who said anything about playoffs?
The playoffs aren’t out of reach anymore. That feels weird to write but the Mariners are still in a win-now mode, with their core players coming up to or eclipsing their prime — it makes plenty of sense. That said, we’re still a long ways away from October.
4) More of Kyle Seager.
Do I really have to say more? Take this Seager .gif and enjoy.
5) Rotation depth.
Felix-Iwakuma-Miley-Walker seems solid enough to contend. Throw in a healthy James Paxton, as well as Nate Karns, Mike Montgomery and Vidal Nuno all vying for the fifth spot. You know what they say: competition breeds excellence.
6) A lineup that can get on base.
GM Jerry Dipoto knew what he was looking for the second he took the gig: players who can get on base. With Cano and Cruz right in the middle of it all, it seems more likely we’ll see a major offensive boost.
7) A revamped bullpen.
Seattle has Steve Cischek, Joaquin Benoit, and Charlie Furbush poised to be at the back end of a young and bounce-back ready bullpen. Additions like Ryan Cook plus the return of a promising Tony Zych and David Rollins, the Mariners shouldn’t be too far off from a 2014 lookalike ‘pen.
8) Cruz mashing.
There’s a pretty good chance we’ll be seeing more of Cruz crushing just about everything. Like so.
9) New faces in Safeco.
With a brand new field staff, starting with manager Scott Servais, the M’s have a load of fresh faces ready to tackle the 2016 season. Optimism should abound for, at the very least, the first few weeks of the season.
10) More of this.