6 Challenges the Oakland A’s Will Face in 2013

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# 6 The Seattle Mariners:

Aug 15, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez (34) delivers to the plate against the Tampa Bay Rays during the seventh inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Their bullpen is probably their one saving grace, as it ranks fourth in the American League.  But Seattle looks similar (though not nearly as attractive) to a team like that of the Arizona Diamondbacks, as their starting pitching is OKAY (thanks greatly to Felix Hernandez), and they’ve got some decent position players in first baseman Justin Smoak – with whom the team had tremendous expectations for – , outfielder Michael Saunders, and backstop Jesus Montero.

Though they’re not a real threat, Seattle did significantly upgrade their outfield with the off-season acquisitions of Raul Ibanez, and Michael Morse, returning to the team he debuted with.  These were two solid pickups, and could definitely help the team in terms of homerun power, and veteran leadership with some mighty pop off the bench, with the occasional start here and there.

Overall, I don’t see the Mariners finishing with more than maybe – and that’s a strong maybe – eighty wins, a good five wins ahead of where they finished in 2012.

Oakland might not have quite as good of a year in 2013 as they did the year prior, but if one thing can be said about the Athletics, is that they should definitely be considered a contender, but expectations should be tempered.

After all, not every season can be magical.