This is an article from the March 31, 2014 issue
A rival scout sizes up the MARINERS
For all of their off-season activity, they made one less change than they should have. They needed to add a righthanded bat to protect ROBINSON CANO. LLOYD MCCLENDON is going to get tired of seeing the opposing manager putting up four fingers when Cano comes up.... This will be a breakout year for DUSTIN ACKLEY. He looks relaxed, in part because he doesn't have to worry about playing second base anymore. He can rake. I won't call him Wade Boggs, but he appears to be Wade Boggs-ish.... MIKE ZUNINO's offensive numbers as a rookie weren't good, but I think he was force-fed, which the Mariners have done with a lot of their prospects. I think he'll just continue to get better.... BRAD MILLER reminds me of Roy Smalley. Dude is a dirt dog, and he's unorthodox with his swing. Not flashy, but makes all the plays and plays with energy.... JESUS MONTERO looks like Baby Huey. How can you gain 40 pounds during the off-season—especially since he's trying to learn first base, where he has to be more flexible and lighter on his feet than at catcher? But the dude's got some hittin' hands, even if he used them to clean plates too often.... FELIX HERNANDEZ, on the other hand, is as lean as I've ever seen him. All he does is pound the bottom of the zone. He was once a pure power pitcher, but now he can really command his stuff.... HISASHI IWAKUMA is Japanese for Sinker McNasty: He sinks it, sinks it, sinks it, and gets weak contact after weak contact.
2014 Projected Statistics and Run Totals by ROTOWIRE.COM
PROJECTED RUNS SCORED
AL AVERAGE 694
PROJECTED RUNS ALLOWED
AL AVERAGE 707
By signing ROBINSON CANO to play second base, the Mariners blocked the progress of a promising homegrown infielder: NICK FRANKLIN. With BRAD MILLER established at shortstop, Seattle must trade Franklin, a top 100 prospect the last two years. He hit just .225/.303/.382 as a rookie in 2013, but he is only 23 and a switch-hitter who profiles with good power for a middle infielder. Even with Cano, the Mariners face an uphill struggle in the loaded AL West. The franchise is already burdened by the failure to develop DUSTIN ACKLEY, JESUS MONTERO and JUSTIN SMOAK, and it can't waste an asset such as Franklin when it is trying to snap a 12-year streak of missing the postseason. He must be dealt for something that helps the Mariners win now: a starting pitcher, a second big bat to go with Cano (preferably an outfielder). To hold on to Franklin as a bench player or as a Tacoma Rainier will do nothing for their short- or long-term goals.