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Progress report: Seattle Mariners

Progress report: Seattle Mariners
Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton tosses the ball to a teammate during a drill in a baseball spring training workout, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, in Peoria, Ariz. (Charlie Neibergall / AP)
SEATTLE MARINERS
  • 2017 finish: 78-84 (3rd in AL West)
  • Manager: Scott Servais (164-160, 3rd season)
  • Top baseball ops executive: Jerry Dipoto, executive vice president / general manager (3rd season)
DOLLARS AND SENSE
  • Highest-paid player: RHP Felix Hernandez ($26.9 million in 2018)
  • Top returning position player: DH Nelson Cruz (4.1 WAR in 2017, baseball-reference.com)
  • Top returning pitcher: LHP James Paxton (3.9 WAR in 2017)
THE MOVES
  • Key addition(s): OF Dee Gordon (trade), 1B Ryon Healy (trade), RHP Juan Nicasio (free agent), OF Ichiro Suzuni (free agent).
  • Key subtraction(s): 1B Yonder Alonso (free agent), OF Jarrod Dyson (free agent), 1B Danny Valencia (free agent), RHP Yovani Gallardo (free agent), C Carlos Ruiz (free agent), LHP Drew Smyly (free agent).
  • Baseball America top-100 prospect(s): OF Kyle Lewis (No. 67).
STORYLINES TO WATCH
  • The Mariners searched high and for arms when injuries struck the rotation in 2017. Only three of their pitchers logged more than 20 starts. Three others – including RHP Felix Hernandez (0.8 WAR) – made 10 or more starts and 17 in total started games for the Mariners. Seattle will hope for better luck in 2018, especially from LHP James Paxton, who enjoyed a career year despite injuries limiting him to 136 innings.
  • Dee Gordon is among the fastest runners in baseball and the Mariners believe that will translate to a successful conversion to center field. Seattle acquired him and international bonus money from Miami for three minor leaguers and immediately planned to use his athleticism in what the Mariners’ hope is one of baseball’s best defensive outfields.
  • 2B Robinson Cano is 35 years old and declined from 7.3 WAR in 2016 to 3.4 last year. DH Nelson Cruz drove in a career-high 119 runs in 2017 but will turn 38 in July. Both veterans remain plenty productive, but their window to return the Mariners to the postseason could close quickly.
PECOTA PROJECTION
  • 82 wins
Mariners outfielder Nelson Cruz (23) is chased by Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Tom Koehler (55) during a run down in the second inning at Peoria Sports Complex on Feb. 25, 2018.
Mariners outfielder Nelson Cruz (23) is chased by Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Tom Koehler (55) during a run down in the second inning at Peoria Sports Complex on Feb. 25, 2018. (Joe Camporeale / USA TODAY Sports)
AROUND THE LEAGUE
NL West
NL Central
NL East
AL West
AL Central
AL East
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