2012 Spring Training gives glimpse into future of M’s
There are lots of reports coming up from the Mariners training facility in Peoria this spring, from injuries to batting order changes. Filtering through the news here are some things that we have learned about the Mariners 2012 season since Spring Training started.
1. This is a team
When the Mariners arrived in Arizona to start spring training they found an orange t-shirt hanging in their locker as a tribute to their teammate Greg Halman who was killed tragically during the offseason. This touching gesture was not carried out by the front office, but by one of the players Mike Carp.
For too long the Mariners have not played with a sense of comradely leading to arguments on and off the field and players working more for their own value as opposed to the teams greater good.
The fact that the M’s players have such deep conviction for each other is encouraging, even if the situation that highlighted it is an atrocity.
2. Eric Wedge is more than a manager
The Mariners have had plenty of managers since Lou Pinella left the organization, but they have not had a man on the field who was a leader.
With the announcement that Ichiro would be moved out of the lead-off spot, followed by an obvious buy-in from the superstar in his batting stance shows that Wedge is not MERELY a baseball manager, but a leader of men.
This is exactly what the Mariners need to succeed in their rebuilding process.
3. There is an air of the young and the restless
The M’s have 67 players in their big league camp this spring with few that have any significant amount of Major League service time. This shows that the M’s are really following through on the plan to rebuild into a long term threat in the A.L. West.
While there is a lot of untested talent, the potential is through the roof. The restlessness comes from the competitive feeling that comes through having so many good players in every position.
It is exciting to speculate at which unknown prospects who may one day be household names across the entire MLB. It WILL happen.
4. Baseballs are going, going, gone
The Mariners offensive efforts have been embarrassing to fans over the past few years and frustrations lead to the most dismal attendance record at ever at Safeco field.
Seeing the Mariners trade away a dominate pitching arm for a right handed power hitter was a sign that the front office has hope of changing the way Mariners baseball is perceived.
The middle of the order is looking much more solid than last season and there has yet to be a single pitch thrown.
It looks as though Michael Saunders may even still have a pulse.
5. It’s time to follow the leader
The stuff that happens in the clubhouse is a needed component to a team performing well. The M’s have brought in a few other players who may be at the end of their careers but work as a playing coach.
Once these young players are experienced enough to fly solo, then the M’s can truly pursue and coax the big name free agent into their lineup.
This will still be a difficult year to watch, but there is a lot to be hopeful about.
The future is friendly.