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10 predictions for the Mariners' 2014 season

felix walk away 2
Jim Moore expects the Mariners to give Felix Hernandez enough run support to win 20 games for the first time. (AP)

By Jim Moore

It may not sound like it sometimes on the show, but I'm fired up for the start of the Mariners' season.

I love baseball and the Mariners in general, and Danny Farquhar in particular.

We also had a fun interview with Erasmo Ramirez on Friday, and I'd have to now list him as my second-favorite Mariner, but no one can displace Farquhar, who would still be the closer if I were the general manager.

I'm also looking forward to finding out more about left-handed reliever Joe Beimel, who I'd never heard of until I found out that he made the 25-man roster.

A little Wikipedia research shows that the soon-to-be 37-year-old went to Duquesne, John Clayton's alma mater. Beimel (BUY-mul) has a thick beard and developed a cult following in 2008 when he pitched for the Dodgers and put out a series of videos that led to "The Legend of Joe Beimel."

He wears the No. 97 because his first kid, Drew, was born in 1997.
Just seems to me that Beimel might have a few screws loose, which makes him my kind of guy.

Anyway, I was asked yesterday by one of my bosses, Brady Henderson, to come up with 10 predictions for the Mariners' season.

My goal is to go 10-for-10, but I'd be happy with 7-for-10. Let's start with a gimme so I won't go 0-for-10:

1. Bark in the Park will be a huge success. On July 8 for their game against the Twins, the Mariners will allow dogs at Safeco Field. This will end up being the best promotional night in franchise history, topping all previous bobblehead and Smoak-A-Motive nights combined.

2. Felix Hernandez will win 20 games for the first time. He'll finally get the run support to make it happen.

3. Farquhar will replace Fernando Rodney as the closer by the end of May. I sense that age will catch up to Rodney, and the blown saves will add up to a point that Farquhar will get the job back, and deservedly so. He shouldn't have lost it in the first place.

4. Lloyd McClendon will be thrown out of four games this year. Out of all of these predictions, I hope I'm wrong on this one. I hope he's thrown out of 14 games. Eric Wedge let me down in this department. With his fiery nature, I thought he'd get tossed from time to time but rarely was. I have more hope for McClendon. There's nothing better than a manager getting in an umpire's face and being ejected. McClendon has that kind of potential.

romero
Stefen Romero could help the M's lack of right-handed hitters. (AP)

5. Stefen Romero will be the everyday starter in right field by the first of May. What, you think Michael Saunders has a better chance of being the everyday starter in right field? Corey Hart? Please. Give the job to Romero and keep that right-handed bat of his in the lineup.

6. Jesus Montero will rise from the ashes and become the Mariners' regular DH after the All-Star break. Montero will lose some weight and hit .330 for the Tacoma Rainiers, forcing the Mariners to call him up as Hart and Logan Morrison continue to struggle and battle ailments that make you wonder what Jack Z was thinking when he acquired these injury-prone guys in the first place.

7. Robinson Cano will hit .315 with 30 home runs and 110 runs batted in. Anyone remember when we saw those kinds of numbers from a player in a Mariner uniform? Me neither. Or is it me either? We've gotten so used to thinking that .275 and 20 HRs and 80 RBIs are benchmark seasons around here, it's going to be nice to see someone blow those marks out of the water.

8. Hisashi Iwakuma will have an OK season, but nothing resembling a Cy Young kind of season, and Taijuan Walker won't be anything special this year. Both players should be in the rotation by the first of May, but I'd lower the expectations. Just a hunch with Iwakuma that he never quite returns to form, but with Walker, keep in mind that Felix was 12-14 with a 4.52 ERA in his first full season as a Mariner.

9. Rick Rizzs will say "Goodbye Baseball" 10 times when Chris Young pitches. USS Mariner tells us that the Mariners' fifth starter might be the easiest pitcher to steal off of in baseball history – in 179 stolen-base attempts against Young, 162 have been successful. But what scares me more than that? Young is said to be a "fly-ball pitcher." I don't like fly-ball pitchers, especially when I have converted infielders in the outfield. I like strikeout pitchers and ground-ball pitchers, but fly-ball pitchers? Not so much. When I think of fly-ball pitchers, I think of souvenirs in the stands.

10. The Mariners will finish with a 77-85 record. Sure things are Cano at second, Kyle Seager at third and Felix on the mound. But there are question marks everywhere else. You can make a good case for Justin Smoak, Dustin Ackley and Michael Saunders having breakout years but more easily think they'll be mediocre again.

Brad Miller and Mike Zunino…I think we're all hopeful, but who knows how they'll turn out. The bullpen? Looks OK, not great. The rotation could be really good or so-so.

I want to buy in to the whole darn thing, but there are too many holes to expect a winning season.

The Go 2 Guy also writes for his website jimmoorethego2guy.com and kitsapsun.com. You can reach Jim at jimmoorethego2guy@yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.

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