SEATTLE, WA - MAY 5: Ichiro Suzuki #51 hits into a double play during a game against the Minnesota Twins at Safeco Field on May 5, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
In light of the pending switch to the American League, each week TCB is helping you adjust to the trauma, breaking down a particular topic each week...Next up we look at a future division opponent, the Seattle Mariners.
TCB: The Seattle Mariners.
TCB: The place where Frasier Crane's from.
TCB: You're obviously still in Kentucky Derby mode from last week.
You mean the team that was the sixth best organisation two years ago?
TCB: Precisely. David Cameron's never going to live this article down, even though FanGraphs organisational rankings are based on a set of criteria. Still, the Mariners bottomed out at 101 losses, barely fewer than the Pirates. Last year they managed 95 losses.
Where did it all go wrong?
TCB: They scored 556 runs last year and 513 the year before. During July 2011 they racked up an incredible 17 game losing streak, scoring at 2.6 runs per game. In a four-game series against the Rangers during that streak, they scored just two runs.
And they're fixing that?
TCB: The Mariners now have a very young core in their lineup, with Kyle Seager, Jesus Montero, Justin Smoak, Michael Saunders and Dustin Ackley 25 or younger. Some or all of that group could pan out, or then again, maybe not.
Any bad contracts?
TCB: Ichiro at 38 is not Ichiro at 28 when he started with the Mariners, but he's eligable for free agency after 2012, and apart from the bagillions its keeping Felix Hernandez in Seattle, the rest of the books are pretty healthy.
More after the jump
Felix can't be that good, he's only got 88-68.
TCB: Blank stare. He's only 26 and he's compiled some ridiculous numbers already. He holds a 3.19 ERA. Greg Maddux retired with a 3.16 ERA, Roger Clemens at 3.12. Two recent contemporaries Roy Oswalt and Roy Halladay stand at 3.21 and 3.23. He's in elite territory and he may even get better if he can stay healthy.
Is there more to come?
TCB: Danny Hultzen, James Paxton, and Nick Franklin are all bright prospects and FanGraphs has their minor league system at a healthy 14th place coming into 2012.
Will we be making our way in hoardes to Safeco Field?
TCB: Errr...probably not. Those park factors really are a killer. If you were travelling by car, you would travel 2,479 miles to get from one city to another. 1,891 as the crow flies. And we're in the same division. And its 3,464 miles from New York to London. Clap clap Bud Selig. Yet it has a modern stadium with a retractable roof.
Does it have a hilarious mascot?
TCB: The Mariner Moose?
TCB: Seriously. He once broke his ankle crashing into a wall, attempting some skating high jinks during a playoff game with the Yankees.
Oh now I remember, he was Ken Griffey Jr's running mate when he ran for President.
TCB: I'm pretty sure I don't remember that....