The rotation


34 | Felix Hernandez, right-hander

Age:
20. HT: 6-3. WT: 230.Bats: Right.Throws: Right.

Mariners need … Felix to prove he’s the ace everyone has predicted he will be. And he needs to prove it this season. There’s no doubt he has the stuff — serious heat on his four-seam fastball, a two-seamer with great movement and a nasty curveball.

How bad do the Mariners need Felix to be an ace? Well, the four other starters in the rotation were a combined 32-41 last season. Each could improve slightly, but there’s no reason to think any of the four will be much better than a .500 pitcher.

Spring things: Felix impressed everyone before he even threw a pitch, reporting in great shape after a busy offseason of workouts.

By the numbers
2006 W-L ERA G GS IP H BB SO
SEATTLE 12-14 4.52 31 31 191 195 60 176
Career 16-18 3.96 43 43 275.1 256 83 253



56 | Jarrod Washburn, left-hander

Age: 32. HT: 6-1. WT: 190.Bats: Left.Throws: Left.

Mariners need … Washburn to pitch better on the road. Washburn was 6-5 with a 3.54 ERA last season at Safeco Field and was particularly tough late in the season (3-0, 2.08 in his final four home starts). But Washburn was 2-9 with a 5.88 ERA on the road.

Little help, please: Washburn’s first season with the Mariners would have looked a little better with some run support. He received the fourth-lowest run-support total in the American League last season.

Spring things: Washburn pitched well in Arizona, with an earned-run average of 2.75 in his first five starts.

By the numbers
2006 W-L ERA G GS IP H BB SO
SEATTLE 8-14 4.67 31 31 187 198 55 103
Career 83-71 4.04 224 214 1,340.1 1,320 403 802


43 | Miguel Batista, right-hander

Age: 36. HT: 6-1. WT: 195.Bats: Right.Throws: Right.

Mariners need … to hope there’s some life left in Batista’s durable, 36-year-old arm.

He’ll need some help: Batista doesn’t strike out a lot of hitters, walks too many and gives up tons of hits. For you fantasy players, that means he’s a WHIP nightmare. For fans of the real-life Mariners, that means you’ll need to hope Batista figures out a way to cut down on the walks, keep the ball in the park and let the Mariners’ strong defense bail him out.

Spring things: Batista looked, well, pretty much like he always has this spring. He gave up a lot of hits (33 in 20 innings in his first five Cactus League starts), didn’t strike out many hitters and seems a lot like a .500 pitcher. At best.

By the numbers
2006 W-L ERA G GS IP H BB SO
ARIZONA 11-8 4.58 34 33 206.1 231 84 110
Career 68-79 4.46 397 185 1,381.2 1,420 591 870


26 | Horacio Ramirez, left-hander

Age: 27. HT: 6-1. WT: 210.Bats: Left.Throws: Left.

Mariners need … Ramirez not to spend most of the season on the disabled list, as he did two of the past three years with Atlanta.

Maybe it’s an odd-year thing: The good news is that when Ramirez has been healthy — 2003 and 2005 — he has been decent. He was 12-4 with a 4.00 ERA in 2003, and 11-9, 4.63 two years later. But HoRam (love the nickname!) has a horrible strikeouts-to-walks ratio, and for a ground-ball pitcher he gives up a lot of home runs (31 in 2005).

Spring things: Ramirez has come as advertised — he’s not overpowering. But his control was OK, and he didn’t allow many hits in Cactus League games.

By the numbers
2006 W-L ERA G GS IP H BB SO
ATLANTA 5-5 4.48 14 14 76.1 85 31 37
Career 30-22 4.13 86 84 521.1 531 200 248


36 | Jeff Weaver, right-hander

Age: 30. HT: 6-5. WT: 200.Bats: Right.Throws: Right.

Mariners need … to hope Weaver is the guy who pitched well late in the season and in the World Series for the Cardinals, not the guy who was one of the worst starters in baseball the first half of the season (3-10, 6.29 ERA before losing his job with the Angels and getting traded).

The numbers don’t lie: Bad news for Mariners fans — Weaver has had a winning record just once in his eight-year career. And even with the Cardinals last season he gave up a lot of hits (99 in 83-1/3 innings), and his ERA (5.18) wasn’t exactly sparkling.

Spring things: Uh-oh. Weaver was handed the No. 3 spot in the rotation, but he pitched his way into the No. 5 position.

By the numbers
2006 W-L ERA G GS IP H BB SO
LAA-STL 8-14 5.76 31 31 172 213 47 107
Career 86-101 4.55 257 240 1,568 1,672 428 1,044



The bullpen


33 | Chris Reitsma, right-hander

Age: 29. HT: 6-5. WT: 235.Bats: Right. Throws: Right.

Mariners need … Reitsma to be fully recovered from last year’s arm surgery and to assume the late-game role Rafael Soriano filled last season. Reitsma, a former starter for Cincinnati, averaged 80 games a year for Atlanta in 2004-05, so he can handle a heavy workload.

By the numbers
2006 W-L ERA IP H BB SO
ATLANTA 1-2 8.68 28 46 8 13
Career 42-44 4.58 585.1 659 155 348


40 | Julio Mateo, right-hander

Age: 29. HT: 6-0. WT: 220.Bats: Right. Throws: Right.

Mariners need … Mateo to stay healthy (a familiar story in the bullpen). Mateo spent time on the disabled list twice last season but was his usual, solid self otherwise. Mateo was in the right place at the right time often enough to win nine games last season, most of any American League reliever.

By the numbers
2006 W-L ERA IP H BB SO
SEATTLE 9-4 4.19 53.2 62 22 31
Career 17-12 3.67 306.1 286 80 212


53 | Arthur Rhodes, left-hander

Age: 37. HT: 6-2. WT: 212.Bats: Left. Throws: Left.

Mariners need … Rhodes to get left-handers out, which will be especially important if George Sherrill keeps pitching the way he did most of the spring. Rhodes had a rough year with the Philadelphia Phillies last season, but he still struck out more than a batter an inning.

By the numbers
2006 W-L ERA IP H BB SO
PHILA. 0-5 5.32 45.2 47 30 48
Career 75-60 4.31 1,011 896 451 993


52 | George Sherrill, left-hander

Age: 29. HT: 6-0. WT: 225.Bats: Left. Throws: Left.

Mariners need … Sherrill to get someone out, which he had a very difficult time doing this spring. Cactus League stats usually don’t mean much, but, for the love of Bobby Ayala, check out these numbers: 16 hits and 10 earned runs allowed in eight innings. That’s not good.

By the numbers
2006 W-L ERA IP H BB SO
SEATTLE 2-4 4.28 40 30 27 42
Career 8-8 4.35 82.2 67 43 82


46 | Sean White, right-hander

Age: 25. Ht: 6-4. Wt: 215.Bats: Right. Throws: Right.

Mariners need … White to prove he can carry his weight in the bullpen. White was a Rule 5 selection, which meant the Mariners had to keep him on the major-league roster or lose him. White attended Mercer Island High School and the University of Washington.

By the numbers
2006 W-L ERA IP H BB SO
Mississippi (AA) 5-6 4.40 102.1 124 43 73
Career No major-league experience


35 | Brandon Morrow, right-hander

Age: 22. Ht: 6-3. Wt: 190.Bats: Right. Throws: Right.

Mariners need … Morrow to be as good as he was in the Cactus League. The Mariners didn’t plan on keeping Morrow in the major leagues this season. But he was so impressive in Arizona they felt they’d rather have him in their bullpen than starting in the minor leagues.

By the numbers
2006 W-L ERA IP H BB SO
Peoria/Inl Emp (A) 0-2 2.25 16 10 9 17
Career No major-league experience


The Closer


2
0 | J.J. Putz, right-hander

Age: 30. HT: 6-5. WT: 250.Bats: Right.Throws: Right.

Mariners need … Putz to be healthy. If he is, there’s not much doubt about his ability. He was one of the best closers in baseball last season. But, if the sore elbow that acted up this spring is a problem, the Mariners will have to turn to Rafael Soriano to close games. Oh wait, he was traded to Atlanta. Uh-oh.

Pronunciation guide: It’s “puts” — like “J.J. puts up with people calling him putz, but he’d really prefer they wouldn’t.”

Spring things: Putz didn’t see much action in Cactus League games, just one inning prior to the team’s trip to San Francisco and Las Vegas. The Mariners hope the limited work won’t keep him from quickly regaining midseason form.

By the numbers
2006 W-L ERA G SV IP H BB SO
SEATTLE 4-1 2.30 72 36 78.1 59 13 104
Career 10-9 3.47 193 46 205 187 63 199