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.

Pirates sign reliever Eric O’Flaherty

Eric O'Flaherty
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Left-hander Eric O'Flaherty has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Pirates that includes an invitation to spring training.

O’Flaherty was one of the best relievers in the league for the Braves from 2009-2013, posting a combined 1.99 ERA in 249 innings, but Tommy John elbow surgery derailed his career and he struggled for the A’s and Mets in 2015 while dealing with shoulder problems.

It’s tough to know if O’Flaherty is healthy at this point, but the 31-year-old southpaw certainly has a chance to be a nice reclamation project for the Pirates on a no-risk contract.

Mariano Rivera to get his plaque in Monument Park on August 14

Mariano Rivera
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The greatest closer in history is going to get the ultimate honor the New York Yankees bestow on August 14. That’s when Mariano Rivera will get his plaque in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium before a game against the Rays.

There was some chatter in the last year or two about whether the Yankees were somehow lowering their standards out there, what with guys like Tino Martinez getting honored. But if that’s something you care about it won’t matter in this instance. Rivera would’ve been worthy even if the old snobby ways had held and only inner-circle types got a plaque, what with him being a key member of five World Series-winning teams and his status as the all-time saves leader in the regular season and the postseason.

The Yankees retired Rivera’s No. 42 in 2013. He’ll get his plaque in August. Then, on the first ballot for which he is eligible, he’ll be voted into the Hall of Fame, likely with a percentage in the mid-to-high 90s.

Dodgers “trying to trade” Alex Guerrero

Alex Guerrero
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Alex Guerrero is a potentially good right-handed bat without a position to play in Los Angeles, so Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reporting that the Dodgers are “trying to trade” him makes sense.

Guerrero, who signed with the Dodgers out of Cuba for $28 million in October of 2013, spent last season in the majors hitting .233 with 11 homers and a .695 OPS in a part-time role that generated 230 plate appearances. He logged a total of just 355 innings defensively, mostly as a left fielder and third baseman.

Guerrero could be intriguing–particularly to an American League team for whom his defense isn’t much of an issue–because he hit .329 with 15 homers and a 1.113 OPS in 65 games at Triple-A in 2014 and was consistently a .300 hitter with an OPS around 1.000 in Cuba. He’s also 29 years old, so Guerrero is no doubt looking to play regularly.

The New Zealand World Baseball Classic team performs the Haka

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It’s World Baseball Classic time again. Just the qualifying rounds. The actual tournament happens in 2017. Qualifiers will happen in Sydney, Australia, Mexicali, Mexico, Panama City, Panama and Brooklyn, N.Y., periodically, between now and September.

The Sydney round just got underway yesterday, so yes, some actual baseball is going on. As I’ve written and ranted before, the WBC is not my favorite thing that happens in baseball and certainly not the most important thing, but it’s pretty fun. Especially when there are displays of enthusiasm and pageantry and the like.

Such as the Haka, which basically every New Zealand sports team does and which never gets old:

 

Down in Sydney, the Australia, New Zealand, Philippines and South Africa teams are competing in a six-game, modified double-elimination format. In the other three qualifying rounds, Mexico, Czech Republic, Germany, Nicaragua, Colombia, France, Panama, Spain, Brazil, Great Britain, Israel and Pakistan will compete. Each qualifying round puts one representative in the WBC.

Those four qualifiers will compete in the WBC itself against countries that performed well enough in the past that they need not submit to qualifying: Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, United States and Venezuela.

Someone make sure Jon Morosi is well-hyrdrated. It’s gonna be a long year.