BROCK AND SALK

Mike Salk’s top 10 reasons to be excited about the Mariners’ season

Mar 23, 2018, 11:14 AM

Dee Gordon has always had speed, but the new Mariners CF has shown he has an arm, too. (AP)...

Dee Gordon has always had speed, but the new Mariners CF has shown he has an arm, too. (AP)

(AP)

Opening day for the Mariners is next Thursday when they host Cleveland at Safeco Field. With less than a week of spring training to go, Mike Salk checks in with his top 10 reasons why he’s excited about the upcoming season.

Mike Salk’s top 10 reasons to be excited about the Mariners

1. James Paxton throwing 97 from the left side. This will be fun seeing Paxton every five days, growing into a true ace.

2. Dee Gordon’s arm vs his legs vs his smile. Pick ‘em.

3. Speed at the top, power in the middle, depth at the bottom. That is how you create a batting order and they have it. They should score runs in bunches and in various ways.

4. Mature Edwin Diaz. The Mariners closer is no longer a rookie and it’s time to learn how to handle nights where he doesn’t have his best stuff.

5. Mike Zunino. Fixed and ready for stardom. Gotta be consistent.

6. Nelson Cruz bombs. He has my favorite right-handed swing since Manny Ramirez and watching his raw power never gets old.

7. A first baseman that isn’t disliked by his teammates (Danny Valencia), his coaching staff (Adam Lind) nor his uniform (Dae-Ho Lee). Ryon Healy seems like a genuinely good dude and willing to buy into what they want to do. He’ll have lots of RBI opportunities.

8. Guillermo Heredia. He might not be the best player on this team but he is my favorite and I don’t need to explain myself to you!

9. Mitch Haniger’s long, level swing and five tools. If he can grow into a star, it will make this team’s future feel much, much better.

10. Ichiro and Felix together again. It wasn’t perfect at the end, but they are both superstar players with unique connections to the fans here.

Jim Moore’s observations from Mariners spring training

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Mike Salk’s top 10 reasons to be excited about the Mariners’ season