Fantasy Articles
Aside from a handful of players, the Mariners have little to offer most fantasy teams. But if you are lucky, there are many names that will hang around until the last rounds and if - for whatever reason - they do contribute something, you will look really smart.

The Best of the Bunch:

The Mariners have no elite talent.

The Second Tier:

If only he would like home runs, too.
Ichiro Suzuki (OF): All Ichiro brings to the table is a constant .310+ average, 100 runs scored and 40 odd steals.  Even at age 35, he’s one of the best players in the game, but is he elite?  Nope.  Three categories, even three categories which you dominate as a hitter just isn’t quite there.

Jose Lopez (2B):
Coming off a career year in 2008 the almost unnoticed Lopez put up numbers worthy of fantasy notice (.297-17-89-80 with six steals).  He’s still got a degree of upside, but after a career year a slight regression is possible too – especially as the loss of protection in Raul Ibanez could mean he crosses the plate less.

Adrian Beltre (3B):
The 30 year old Beltre isn’t going to wow anyone and there isn’t much upside left, but he’s consistent and you can’t argue with a .270-25-80 line with the chance at double digit steals.

The Third Tier:

Felix Hernandez (SP): He’s got plus stuff, the ability to strike out 175, and upside, but after three full seasons “King” Felix no longer gets the benefit of an assumption that he’ll step it up.  His WHIP has trended upward each season, and he only 39-36 at this point in his career.  Draft him and cross your fingers that this is the year he steps it up.

Ken Griffey Jr. (OF): He’s still got enough power to warrant a spot on a fantasy team but if he plays 140 games, that’s about his limit.  He’s injury prone and could drag down your average, but he still could park 20+ in the seats.

Erik Bedard (SP):
He was an elite pitcher before undergoing shoulder surgery last season.  Now he’s a bit more speculative, but this fragile ace has tremendous upside and could be huge in four categories if he can find his old stuff.  Remember his 2007 line was an awesome 13-5, 3.16, 1.09 with 221 Ks while pitching for an awful team in Baltimore.

Dumpster Diving, question marks and possible sleepers:

Carlos Silva (SP): He’s an inning eater with a career era of 4.61, WHIP of 1.40 and a crappy strikeout total.  Why anyone would want him is beyond me.

Jarrod Washburn (SP): He’s better than Silva, but not by much.

Ryan Rowland Smith (SP): The best Mariners pitcher not named Bedard or “King Felix” is a middle of the pack starter who is capable of striking out 140-150 batters and posting a sub 3.70 ERA.  However his control is dicey and he gets hit fairly well.  His WHIP is likely to be well above league average.

Tyler Walker/Mark Lowe/David Aardsma (CL): Because someone has to close.  The question is who?

Jeff Clement (C/DH): The overly hyped prospect flopped in his 66 game audition with the big club managing a dismal .227 average with just 5 homers.   He’s got more power and more talent than this, but he’ll have to earn at bats.  There is upside, but he’s not going to play full time, but could earn some at bats as a DH.

Kenji Johjima (C): Johjima essentially fell off the fantasy map in 2008 after solid campaigns in 2006 and 2007.  He’s 32 and could have hit the limit, or he could bounce back to post another double-digit home run season with a .270-280 average, but it’s not a safe assumption.  He’s a waiver wire claim if he shows he can hit early in the season.

Yuniesky Betancourt (SS): He’ll hit for average but is unlikely to hit double digits in home runs or steals.

Endy Chavez (OF): Could win the left field job and provide some value in terms of average, runs scored and could even reach double digit steals.

Franklin Gutierez (OF): He has upside in terms of power and speed, but he’s probably going to end up in a platoon with Endy Chavez or even rookie Greg Halman.

Wladimir Balentein (OF): Another outfielder with power potential but who hasn’t proven he can hit at the big league level yet.  He has the potential to hit 20 home runs, but is unlikely to reach that or to hit better than .220.

Mike Sweeney (1B/DH): His glory days are long past.  So are his days of contributing to a fantasy team.  He hasn’t managed more than 265 at bats in any of the last three seasons nor hit more than 8 home runs.