Return of Baseball in 2020
Baseball will finally start on July 23rd. The great American pastime is going to be welcomed by fans during this pandemic. Baseball was forced to shut down due to COVID-19 issues in mid-March. MLB and the Major League Players Association have been negotiating for two months, trying to reach an agreement on a schedule. Players wanted 110 game season with fully prorated pay, but this was rejected by the league. Both sides have now agreed to a 60- game season, and summer camps started the first week of July. Most teams are now in workout-mode at their home ballparks. The Mariners are practicing at T-Mobile Park, site of their home games.
Summer Camp Preview
Development of young players is the primary goal this season. The Mariners are one of the youngest teams in the Major League Baseball.
General Manager, Jerry Dipoto, started the rebuilding process in November 2018. He began by trading some established veterans for prospects, in order to boost up their farm system and clear payroll. Their farm system will continue to improve, as Seattle’s young players develop their skills. It is an exciting time for Mariner fans because the Seattle finally has a farm system with high-level prospects.
The Mariners had their first rebuilding period in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It’s time once again to establish the next new era of Mariner baseball for the foreseeable future.
I think Seattle will surprise a lot of fans this year, leading me to my predictions for the 2020 Mariners.
1. LHP Marco Gonzalez
I believe Marco Gonzales will have another impressive season this year. As a result, I believe he will finally recognized as one of the best left handed starters in MLB. Gonzalez relies on finesses, not speed, much like Kyle Hendricks of the Chicago Cubs. His ability to work long numbers of innings is another factor the critics have overlooked. Last year Gonzales went 16-13 with an era of 3.99 in 203 innings of work.
2. Trades coming
I really think that Seattle will trade couple of vets this year by the August 31 trade deadline, but if not, during the next offseason. In order to continue the rebuild, they must acquire some high rated prospects, if the team is to continue their progression toward their overhaul. As contenders look to bolster their roster for their playoff runs, Seattle could very well deal vets for the prospects they want.
3. Adams or a new young gun?
Currently, Austin Adams is presumed to be this year’s closer. Adams is 29-years-old right now, and he has two years of arbitration left. The Mariners think he is a viable option for the closing role. Adams went 2-2 with an era of 3.94 in 32 appearances for the Mariners last season. Unfortunately, he was lost for the Season with a torn ACL in his right knee.
If Adams struggles in the role or gets injured again, the team may look to prospect Joey Gerber. Gerber has been the closer at the Mariners’ Double-A affiliate in Arkansas. Last year he went 2-4 with an era of 2.24 (16 saves) for the Travelers. He has the stuff to skip Triple A and go to majors. He just needs his shot.
4. Kikuchi to breakout
Now in the second year of a three-year/$43M deal, lefty Yusei Kikuchi will prove his worth, having a breakout year. The coaches have already said that Kikuchi is showing high velocity in summer camp, and he’s been sharp in his bullpen sessions.
Kikuchi now has a year under his belt in MLB. Last year was a transitional period, as he adjusted to American baseball from the differences of Japanese style ball. He’s settling in now, which will allow him to relax and do what he does best.
5. Lewis to be promoted
Maybe not today or tomorrow, but I believe you’ll see OF Kyle Lewis get promoted to the 26-man (soon to become 28-man) roster. Lewis made his MLB debut last September for Seattle, crushing six home runs in just 18 games.
As the Mariners continue to move toward a younger core, look for Lewis to be a staple on the roster. he’s got talent, and better yet – from the club’s standpoint. he’s controllable for several years to come.
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