How will the Mariners play next year. Will they make a second half comeback? Will they dominate? Or will they be the Mariners of recent years? I believe they have potential to contend. They were in first place during interleague play. But they have to trust their young stars. They have some great bats down in the minors, who have proved their worth during September call ups. The only thing the Mariners need to spend money on is pitching. But first let's look at the lineup.Leading off and playing right field, Ichiro Suzuki. Ichiro had his first down year in eleven years, but he can still produce two hits a game. He will continue to be their leadoff man until he retires or they bring him back.
Batting second, shortstop prospect Nick Franklin. Nick Franklin has potential to be a very powerful shortstop. Not as powerful as Alex Rodrigez, but there is a resemblance. He has a great combination of speed and power with 23 homeruns and 25 stolen bases in 2010. 2011 was a down year because he switched between three different minor league levels. But an invite to spring training and a little AAA time will be enough for him to get the call up.
Batting third and playing second, Dustin Ackley. Ackley is another player with speed and power, with 10 triples and 15 homeruns in MLB and AAA combined. His glove is where he truely shines. His great range, glove and accurate throwing arm make him a perfect second baseman.
Batting fourth and DHing, free agent Prince Fielder. Okay I know Prince is a first basemen but he said he's willing to DH. And It's also hard to imagine him as a Mariner, but remember the managed to sign Cliff Lee. They have the money for the Prince so let's see if he signs.
Batting fifth and playing left field, Mike Carp. Mike Carp had a killer second half showing his power and versatillity. His AAA numbers were even more impressive. Combined with MLB and AAA he had a .310 batting average and 33 homeruns. His glove isn't great but he has showed some skill.
Batting Sixth and playin third base, Alex Liddi. Liddi is a power third baseman and the righty they need in their lineup. He had 33 homeruns in MLB and AAA combined. He also has a good glove. With a little experince I see a Gold Glove in his future.
Batting seventh and playing center field, Trayvon Robinson. I know Franklin Gutierrez is there center fielder, but his lack of hitting is really troublesome. His gold glove does make him trade bait. But Trayvon is a switch hitter with power on both sides. He racked up 28 homeruns and 21 doubles in MLB and AAA combined. He also is a gold glove caliber defender, shown when he robbed Torii Hunter of a homerun.
Batting eighth and playing first base, Justin Smoak. Smoak is a power switch hitter and decent defender. He slumped this year, but that's what happens during a rookie being forced to bat high in the order when he was just traded. But bat him low and he'll produce.
Batting ninth and catching vetern bat Miguel Olivo. Olivo is a homerun hitting catcher who can call a game with the best of them. Like most of the Mariners who weren't rookies he slumped. Only hitting 19 homeruns and batting .224. But bat him low so there won't be pressure and he'll produce.
Now I know there is a lot of risk in having so many rookie, but that risk could end up with a great team.