Expect An Older Rainiers Team

We’re going to have something that we haven’t seen in Tacoma in a few years: an older Triple-A team.

Earlier this week I wrote about Franklin Gutierrez and Joe Saunders agreeing to Triple-A deals. The Seattle Mariners continue to add veteran players on minor league deals, with Joe Beimel the latest edition.

Add in veterans like John Baker, Justin Germano, Rafael Perez, Mark Lowe… that’s a lot of big league experience.

Even the players who are younger in age have quite a bit of big league time. Roenis Elias, James Jones, Jesus Montero, Stefen Romero… none of them will qualify as a major league rookie the next time they get called up.

After years of having a Rainiers roster full of prospects, the Mariners are going old in Tacoma for a reason: they expect to win in the major leagues, so they want to have experienced players in Triple-A who are capable of stepping in for an injured player if needed in the majors.

The last time this happened was 2010. In 2009, the Mariners won 85 games and thought they could contend in 2010. They brought in numerous major league veterans who opened the season in Tacoma: Josh Bard, Chris Woodward, Jack Hannahan, Ramon Vazquez, Mike Koplove, etc.

That turned out to be an awful season in Seattle and a great season in Tacoma. The Mariners imploded, fired the manager, called up half the Tacoma team, and lost 101 games. Tacoma built a huge lead in the division with the veterans, held on with a bunch of young kids who were called up from Double-A after the vets were promoted (or let go), and then got hot in the playoffs and won a PCL championship.

As fun as that season was here in Tacoma, it would not be good for the organization to have a repeat of that scenario. Lots of people are counting on the Mariners to have a good season, to a point in which it is expected.

The season starts next week, so here’s what’s going to happen on the blog:

Monday and Tuesday we’ll have new posts, with a PCL preview of sorts and hopefully a Rainiers opening day roster (I’ll post the roster as soon as we get it – it could happen over the weekend).

Wednesday I travel to El Paso. This is the toughest PCL city to fly to from Tacoma and it’s going to be an all-day travel day, so we won’t have a blog update. Thursday we start the season and we’ll have broadcast details, pitching match-ups, etc.

Links:

It’s the last weekend of the offseason. Baseball shall fill the next 30 weekends.

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