Leonys Martin could ‘make a difference’ for Mariners, according to Mike Blowers

Feb 4, 2016, 2:35 PM | Updated: 2:39 pm
Leonys Martin was acquired by the Mariners to be a strong defensive presence in center field. (AP)...
Leonys Martin was acquired by the Mariners to be a strong defensive presence in center field. (AP)

All of the new faces with the Mariners will keep ROOT Sports analyst Mike Blowers busy when spring training begins in Peoria, Ariz., later this month. The good news for Blowers is he at least knows which player he’s most interested to see up close.

“I think the guy that is intriguing to me that I think can have a real impact is probably (Leonys) Martin,” Blowers told 710 ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Salk” on Thursday.

Related: Mariners sign Korean slugger Dae-ho Lee to minor-league deal

Blowers is already familiar with Martin the player, as the Cuban-born outfielder has played against Seattle numerous times after spending five seasons as a member of the division-rival Texas Rangers. It’s the knowledge of Martin’s potential and the fact that he’s coming off a down year that makes him the most compelling player on Seattle’s roster to Blowers.

“He’s a player that I’ve always liked and I think he can have a real impact on this club,” he said. “I want to get to know him and see what makes him tick and watch him run around the field and do his thing.”

The performance of Martin in 2015 was a big reason the Mariners were able to bring him to town, acquiring him along with reliever Anthony Bass for James Jones, Tom Wilhelmsen and Patrick Kivlehan. He was a buy-low candidate after hitting .219 with a .264 on-base percentage just 26 runs scored in 95 games, missing a chunk of the season with a broken hamate bone in his right hand that was surgically repaired.

Those bad numbers aside, Martin is a strong defender in center field, has a pair of seasons with 30-plus steals to his credit, and is still just 27 years old. Add all of that to the potential of a slash line closer to the .274/.325/.364 he put up in 2014, and he’s a solid candidate for a breakout season.

“I think that he can be a guy that can make a difference for this team. He obviously has a lot of talent,” Blowers said.

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