Even if the corner infielders provide the sock Seattle expects, contending will take yet another historically rare turnaround. Of the previous four AL clubs to take the 30-win plunge, none had a winning record the following season. If spring training was an indication, the Mariners will try very hard to be the first. --T.V.
When Bret Boone led the Mariners with 24 home runs last season, it was the team's lowest-leading total since Ken Griffey Jr. hit 22 as a rookie in 1990.
An opposing team's scout sizes up the Mariners
THEIR PITCHING is going to be a problem, and the main concern is Joel Pi�eiro, their No. 2 guy. They keep saying there's something going on with his back, but you worry that it's worse than they're letting on. [Pi�eiro is expected to miss the first two weeks of the season.] Gil Meche could be an ace, but it seems they weren't happy with him last year. Maybe it's his lack of maturity.... Top prospect Felix Hernandez is the real deal--his stuff is electric. He should get called up very soon.... Coming out of the bullpen, Matt Thornton has had trouble throwing strikes. He's either real good or real bad.... I worry about Richie Sexson. He swings and misses a lot, and he's struggling to make contact.... Scott Spiezio doesn't look like the same guy he was in 2002. He looks half the size and doesn't appear comfortable or strong. They're not counting on him to play every day.... They're going to start Pokey Reese at short, but I would go with Jose Lopez--he's better. Reese isn't going to hit a lot. To me, he's a backup, not a 135-games-a-year guy. Lopez has a thick, blocky body but runs well and has good hands.
projected roster with 2004 statistics
4th in AL West
first season with Seattle