We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2009 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2009 Mariners Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of U.S.S. Mariner.
1) Baseball Prospectus estimates that Kenji Johjima – he of the plummeting 3-year AVG/OBP/SLG trend which fell to an atrocious .227/.277/.332 in 2008 – will get 60% of the catching time with Jeff Clement getting 2/3 of his playing time at DH. How DO you see this playing out and how SHOULD this play out?
I think Clement’s going to end up getting about 65% of the playing time behind the plate – he’ll play against most RHP. If his knee starts hurting, they’ll shift him to DH and stick Griffey in LF occasionally. My guess is that Johjima gets less than 300 PA this year.
As for how it should shake out, Clement should given the chance once and for all to prove whether he can catch or not. The best line-up the M’s can field has Clement behind the plate, Griffey at DH, and Endy Chavez in LF, so hopefully that’s the one they end up with on most days.
2) Ichiro is turning 35 and has been the picture of consistency for his 8 Mariner years – 157+ games, 31+ SB, and .300+ AVG. Any reason to suspect he may slow down or break down in 2009?
Ichiro is a machine when it comes to stretching and keeping his body in shape. There’s a reason he never gets hurt – he keeps his body in top physical shape, and he really has the physical skills of a 24-year-old. His speed hasn’t declined at all, and there’s no evidence of him losing any of his past abilities. Ichiro’s one of the most sure things in baseball.
3) Whom do you think has the better year – F-Her or Jean-Luc Bedard? Do you think Brendan Morrow clears 140 IP?
I think I’m just going to reject the F-Her nickname entirely. King Felix will have a better year than Bedard. And no, I don’t think Morrow will go over 140 IP – the organization will be careful with him, and with guys like Rowland-Smith, Olson, and Vargas kicking around, they have some decent arms who could be used to let him skip some starts from time to time.
4) Whom do you think will emerge as the closer? Mark Lowe? Miguel Batista? David Aardsma? Mike Schooler? (note: asked before the Chad Cordero signing)
Mark Lowe is the favorite, mainly because his change-up gives him a weapon against LHPs. Batista, Tyler Walker, and Roy Corcoran are all more suited to being RH specialists. Aardsma has the stuff if his command takes a big leap forward, but that’s probably a long shot. So, Lowe’s the best bet for saves, but I wouldn’t count on anyone getting more than 20.
5) Which Mariners’ set of moves begged for the most inevitable outcome:
a) 2005’s monster contracts for Richie Sexson and Adrian Beltre = disappointments in proportion to their height
Beltre hasn’t been a disappointment at all. He’s a star, and probably the most underrated player in the game right now. If anything, he’s underpaid.
b) 2008’s signings of Erik Bedard + Carlos Silva = sub-VORP pitching due to Bedard’s injuries and Silva’s health
Silva’s health wasn’t a big problem last year – the M’s defense was just a disaster, and putting a pitch to contact starter in front of that group of defenders was just not going to work.
(note: ‘Silva’s health’ was a poorly phrased joke. I was inferring that he provided sub-VORP pitching because of his lack of injuries – i.e., he’s a below average pitcher)
c) 2009’s signings of Don Wakamatsu (coach) + Ken Griffey Jr. = severe hamstring injury during pre-game calisthenics
If the M’s can limit Griffey to mostly DH’ing, he should be able to stay relatively healthy.