Diving into the depths: Seattle Mariners

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This is part of a 30-article series looking at each team’s depth chart headed into spring training.
Seattle Mariners
Rotation
1. Felix Hernandez
2. Cliff Lee
3. Ryan Rowland-Smith
4. Ian Snell
5. Luke French
6. Garrett Olson
7. Doug Fister
8. Jason Vargas
9. Yusmeiro Petit
10. Ryan Feierabend
11. Gaby Hernandez
12. Andrew Baldwin
13. Dan Cortes
The Mariners have five legitimate options for the fifth spot in their rotation, but I can’t say I’m particularly fond of any of them. I still think it makes a lot of sense for the Mariners to go out and grab an upside guy, perhaps by re-signing Erik Bedard. It’s their only remaining need, and they should have the cash left to get something done.
Bullpen
1. David Aardsma
2. Mark Lowe
3. Shawn Kelley
4. Brandon League
5. Sean White
6. Jason Vargas
7. Yusmeiro Petit
8. Garrett Olson
9. Chad Cordero
10. Doug Fister
11. Cesar Jimenez
12. Anthony Varvaro
13. Kanekoa Texeira
14. Ricky Ortz
15. Josh Fields
The Brandon Morrow-for-League swap was controversial, but I think it could pay real dividends this season. I see League as the Mariners’ best reliever.
The top five should be locks, and Vargas figures to have a spot unless he’s in the rotation. After that, the Mariners will have to decide whether they prefer Petit’s ability to eat innings or Olson’s ability to serve as a second lefty. Alternatively, they could bring in a veteran lefty, perhaps Joe Beimel.


Catcher
1. Adam Moore
2. Rob Johnson
3. Josh Bard
4. Eliezer Alfonzo
First base
1. Casey Kotchman
2. Mike Carp
3. Jose Lopez
4. Tommy Everidge
5. Jack Hannahan
6. Brad Nelson
Second base
1. Jose Lopez
2. Matt Tuiasosopo
3. Josh Wilson
4. Chris Woodward
Third base
1. Chone Figgins
2. Jack Hannahan
3. Matt Tuiasosopo
4. Josh Wilson
Shortstop
1. Jack Wilson
2. Josh Wilson
3. Chris Woodward
There’s really no chance of Carp sticking as a backup, but he should get a crack at the first-base job if Kotchman fails to deliver. The alternative would be to have Lopez move to first, something he’s made clear he doesn’t want to do.
Left field
1. Milton Bradley
2. Michael Saunders
3. Ryan Langerhans
4. Ken Griffey Jr.
Center field
1. Franklin Gutierrez
2. Michael Saunders
3. Ryan Langerhans
4. Corey Patterson
Right field
1. Ichiro Suzuki
2. Michael Saunders
3. Ryan Langerhans
4. Corey Patterson
Designated hitter
1. Ken Griffey Jr.
2. Milton Bradley
3. Mike Carp
4. Tommy Everidge
5. Brad Nelson
If Saunders impresses this spring, it’s possible he’ll win the left-field job, pushing Bradley to the DH spot and Griffey to the bench. That’s probably the ideal scenario for the Mariners. Even if Saunders doesn’t win the job outright, it’d make sense to keep him around and give him three or four starts per week over Griffey and Bradley.

Anthony Alford to miss 4-6 weeks following wrist surgery

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Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.

Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.

Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.

Stephen Strasburg hit a new career high today

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Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.

It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.

While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.

The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”