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 2014 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2014 Mariners Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Scott Weber from Lookout Landing.
1) In your opinion, how does the Robinson Cano signing in Seattle affect his fantasy value for 2014?
I would expect a slight decline based on a couple factors, but Cano is talented enough to remain the top second baseman available on draft boards. A reduction in stats could come from his age, but he’s yet to show signs of decline. He could also see a reduction in runs or RBI, but the Mariners offense should be improved from the year before, and it’s not as if the Yankees offense was anything special in 2013. I’ll be drafting Cano with confidence in re-draft leagues.
2) The Mariners come into the 2014 season with a talented young starting rotation. Which starter do you think will take the biggest step forward this year and why?
Assuming the Mariners don’t make any more major additions to the rotation, I’ve got my eye on Erasmo Ramirez as a sort of post-non-hype sleeper. Ramirez showed a bunch of promise in 2012 as a solid back end option who could rack up buckets of quality starts until an injury derailed his 2013 and he never recovered. He’s certainly the guy who will get bumped from the rotation if the Mariners make another splash, but he’s looked excellent this winter and is a great late-round flier.
I love Brad Miller, especially at such a difficult position to field. He’s one of my ideal targets if I miss out on the top tier of shortstops. Miller went through the rookie ups and downs and came up shining on the other end. He’s got surprising pop, will steal some bases, and should hit for a solid average. There is some mild concern that he may have to compete with Nick Franklin at shortstop if Franklin isn’t traded before the season starts, but Miller is the better defender (and hitter), so he should win out and play close to every day.
4) Seattle acquired two players coming off of injuries in Logan Morrison and Corey Hart. Of the two, which one do you think will be more valuable for fantasy players in 2014 assuming both stay healthy?
Corey Hart. While both players are excellent buy-low candidates to fill out a 3rd outfield spot in leagues, I think Hart will play more often and he has the longer track record. Morrison may be a bit more platooned as the season unfolds, and there’s still a bit of a logjam at 1B/DH. No matter what the front office says, I just don’t think there’s any way the Mariners can roll out Morrison and Hart in the outfield on those knees with much regularity. It’d be best for fantasy owners if they played enough to keep eligibility in the outfield but had their knees protected at DH. Hart has hit both right-handed and left-handed pitching well, and should hit in a position to drive in a lot of runs. Plus, he’s in a prove it contract year with a ton of incentives. All arrows point to fantasy draft bargain.
5) Since you’re a Mariners fan who appreciates retro baseball cards, what’s your favorite M’s card past or present and why?
I love the 1992 Upper Deck Greg Briley card where he’s donning a catcher’s mitt with no gear on and he also has these big wire glasses on with 80 grade dad-hat. It makes no sense – Briley never played a second of catcher in the majors. It’s completely ridiculous, and I love it because it represents the end of an era of baseball cards where players would pose for pitchers instead of the company using action shots. That all started to change soon after as manufacturers started to go premium (Fleer Flair, Topps Finest) in the upcoming years, and cheesy cards like this started to disappear. Sorting through boxes of old commons from 1986-1992 are full of totally absurd cards like this, and while this isn’t the silliest of the batch, it’s the one that I most remember.