Roster Watch: A closer look at the 2003 Mariners

The Mariners will face more roster decisions this offseason than in any winter over the past five seasons. Who they resign is hard to predict. Who they acquire is even more difficult. For a futher look at the 2003 roster and our best guesses at the future of the franchise, read InsidethePark.com's "Roster Watch."

STARTING PITCHERS:

RHP Freddy Garcia (12-14, 4.51 ERA).
He could make between $8-10 million in salary arbitration, which could make him too rich. He could return, but he looms as trade bait.

LHP Jamie Moyer (21-7, 3.27).
He's 40, but his last three seasons have been three of his best, including two 20-win seasons.

RHP Joel Pineiro (16-11, 3.78).
Won eight in a row, then went five weeks without a win. Looked on as a possible No. 1 down the line.

RHP Ryan Franklin (11-13, 3.57).
The unluckiest of the Seattle pitchers, he finished in the top 10 in ERA with a losing record. Figures to be bigger in Mariners' plans.

RHP Gil Meche (15-13, 4.59).
Having finally proved he's healthy again, he figures to move up in the rotation for 2004.

BULLPEN:

RHP Kazuhiro Sasaki (1-2, 4.05).
He was hurt most of the year and lost his job as closer, but at $8 million he will either be traded or will come back as the closer. He wasn't completely healthy after his return.

LHP Arthur Rhodes (3-3, 4.17).
He's coming off his poorest season for the Mariners. If he doesn't return, the Mariners need to find a left-hander who can dominate in short relief, and there aren't many options.

RHP Shigetoshi Hasegawa (2-4, 1.48, 16 S, 1 BS).
He took over for Sasaki and was great. He's a free agent who wants to return, so he probably will although the Mariners don't want to have to pay him too much.

RHP Rafael Soriano (3-0, 1.53).
A minor leaguer when the season started, he became, with Hasegawa, one of the two most reliable relievers on the team. He comes into the 2004 season as the right-handed setup man, although he could be the closer if Sasaki is traded.

RHP Julio Mateo (4-0, 3.15).
The 25th man on the roster to start the season, he was active for every day but one all season and put together a sparkling season in middle relief with a 4-0 record and 3.15 record. He will pitch middle and setup relief in 2004.

RHP Armando Benitez (0-0, 3.14).
Picked up in early August for RHP Jeff Nelson and was inconsistent, mostly because he walked 11 in 14 1/3 innings.

CATCHERS:

Dan Wilson (.241 AVG, 3 HR, 43 RBI).
He's the veteran starter. And with one more year left on his contract, he'll open 2004 the same way. He had a tough year, though, his batting average dropping 50 points from 2002.

Ben Davis (.236, 6, 42).
He will get increasing more playing time in 2004, but he lost playing time in the second half of 2003 when he lost over 50 points on his batting average after the All-Star break.

Pat Borders (.143, 0, 1).
He has been backup relief in Triple-A most of the last two seasons, and he could be that again in 2004 although he's got to retire at some point.

INFIELDERS:

1B John Olerud (.269, 10, 83).
He's got one more year left on his contract, and he's coming off his worst statistical season in a decade. He could lose his job or be traded with most teams expecting more offense at first base.

2B Bret Boone (.294, 35, 117).
His power numbers fell off in the last six weeks, but he's still the major offensive force in the lineup. The lineup in 2004 will be built around him.

SS Rey Sanchez (.294, 0, 11).
He did a nice job offensively and defensively after coming over from the Mets. But with SS Kazuo Matsui in Japan drawing the Mariners' interest, chances are less than 50-50 that Sanchez returns.

3B Carlos Guillen. (.276, 7, 51).
A nagging rib injury forced him to play third base the final two months of the season, but he could be back at SS again in 2004 if the Mariners don't get a SS in the winter and settle instead for adding a 3B. Or. Guillen, eligible for arbitration, could be packaged in a deal.

SS/3B/OF Mark McLemore (.233, 2, 35).
He's probably done as a Mariner after a four-year career. A free agent, he wants to go to team that is a contender that will given him more than the 309 at-bats he got in 2003.

3B/SS/OF Willie Bloomquist (.250, 1, 14).
He had a spell in August where he played most every day at third. But with Guillen and Sanchez both healthy, he didn't play much at all. He figures to be the No. 1 infield backup in 2004.

1B Greg Colbrunn (.276, 3, 7).
Used sparingly in the first half, he was just getting more playing time when he went on the disabled list with rib and wrist injuries. He had wrist surgery and figures to be in line for more at-bats in 2004.

OUTFIELDERS:

LF Randy Winn (.295, 11, 75, 23 SB).
He hit .330 in the second half, proving to be the Mariners' best hitter for average during the stretch run while playing in his first pennant race. He could go to CF if Mike Cameron is gone, but a weak throwing arm may keep him in LF.

CF Mike Cameron (.253, 18, 76, 17 SB).
His power numbers fell off dramatically; he had just two home runs in August and September. He is a Gold Glover, but his offensive falloff may make the Mariners unwilling to completely open up their wallets to him. And Cameron, who doesn't like hitting in Safeco Field, may not want to return.

RF Ichiro Suzuki (.312, 13, 62, 34 SB).
A third consecutive 200-hit season didn't mask the fact that he faded badly, losing 26 points on his batting average in the final six weeks of the season. He's arbitration-eligible and is expected to get a two- or four-year offer from the Mariners although both sides could settle for a one-year package.

LF/RF John Mabry (.212, 3, 16).
He thought he would play much more than he did (104 at-bats). The Mariners have an option for his services in 2004, but it's not at all clear that they will exercise it.

DESIGNATED HITTER:

Edgar Martinez (.294, 24, 98).
Still a potent force at 40, he played with pain (a broken left big toe) down the stretch and didn't get another postseason berth, which he wanted. Because of that, he may decide to play one more year at age 41 although it would surprise no one if he retired.

MEDICAL WATCH:

1B Greg Colbrunn (cartilage surgery, right wrist) is expected to be ready to go in spring training.

LHP Matt Thornton (ligament replacement surgery) missed most of the season but made eight minor league starts. He could be with the Mariners as a left-handed reliever, or even a starter, next season.

OF Chris Snelling (ACL surgery recovery). He played much of the middle of the year in San Antonio, suffered a knee injury late in the year. He'll skip fall and winter ball, but assuming he's healthy he could be with the Mariners next April.

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