Opening Day 2014: Previewing The American League West

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Robinson Cano got his money, but the M’s were more than just one piece away from contention. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

4. Seattle Mariners

Last year: 71-91, fourth place
Projected finish: Fourth place
What’s New: INF Willie Bloomquist (Arizona), 2B Robinson Cano (N.Y. Yankees), 1B Corey Hart (Milwaukee), OF Logan Morrison (Miami), RHP Fernando Rodney (Tampa Bay).

Who’s Gone: OF Raul Ibanez (L.A. Angels), DH Kendrys Morales (still unsigned). LHP Joe Saunders (Texas).

Who’s Down: RHP Taijuan Walker (15-day DL, right shoulder impingement), RHP Stephen Pryor (15-day DL, recovering from shoulder surgery), RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (15-day DL, sprained tendon in right middle finger).

Outlook: Look at it this way—it might be the first time in MLB history that a team starts a season without its No. 2 starter because of an injured bird-flipper. The Mariners will be better than a 91-loss team in 2014, but this team wasn’t just one piece away from being contenders. Robinson Cano is a huge presence in the middle of the order. But Justin Smoak has never shown he can hit consistently, Abraham Almonte is being asked to make the leap in center field and they just brought Chris Young in off the street—two years removed from his last start—to fill a rotation spot.