One of the big offseason trades involved the Mariners, the Phillies, the Blue Jays, and the Oakland A’s swapping nine players. After the dust settled, the Mariners picked up former Cy Young winner Cliff Lee from Philadelphia to give them a left-handed ace to complement Felix Hernandez.
Seattle picked up Milton Bradley from the Cubs for Carlos Silva. In a separate trade with the Blue Jays, Seattle got reliever Brandon League for Brandon Morrow. To replace Russell Branyan at first base, the Mariners swapped Bill Hall for Casey Kotchman and then picked up outfielder Eric Byrnes after he was released from the Diamondbacks.
Zduriencik rounded out his acquisitions with another first baseman, Ryan Garko, and in a bit of a surprise, re-signed pitcher Erik Bedard for another year.
Pitching: The starting rotation looks to be Hernandez, Lee, Ryan Rowland-Smith, and some combination of Bedard (if healthy) or Ian Snell and whomever wins the spot in spring training between Doug Fister, Luke French, Garrett Olson and Jason Vargas. Long relief will be filled by the best loser from that competition.
In the bullpen David Aardsma has the closer role locked up. Brandon League, Mark Lowe, and Shawn Kelley look set based on last year’s performance. The remaining two seats will be filled with the long reliever winner and either Ricky Orta, Anthony Varvaro, Sean White, and Kanekoa Texeira.
Infield: Around the horn, the players that are set are Casey Kotchman at first, Jose Lopez at second, Jack Wilson at short, and Chone Figgins at third. Catcher is set to be a combination of Felix-favorite Rob Johnson, Adam Moore, and Josh Bard although utility man Jack Hannahan has been mentioned as a possibility as well. Hannahan looks to be on the bench when the season starts. Joining him there will be Garko and possibly Ryan Langerhans, Michael Saunders or a dark horse that has a blistering camp.
Outfield: The only names in stone here are centerfielder Franklin Gutierrez and right fielder Ichiro. Left field looks to be a platoon again with the designated hitter and depends on who is on the mound for the opponents. Junior will be on that list as well Milton Bradley and, if he has anything left, Eric Byrnes.