Where do we stand heading into 2011?

Any realistic hope of playing October baseball in 2010 is over, and it's time to start thinking about the future. Fortunately, we have a strong core and some valuable assets that will carry us into next year. Unfortunately, we have a slew of places that need upgrades in order for us to become serious contenders. I thought it would be good to take a look at the holes we have so we can see what the FO needs to do before next April.

Position Players
C - Adam Moore?
1B - (?)
2B - Chone Figgins
3B - Jose Lopez
SS - Jack Wilson?
LF - Michael Saunders
CF - Franklin Gutierrez
RF - Ichiro!
DH - Milton Bradley?

C - Rob Johnson
1B/PH - (?)
IF - Josh Wilson
OF - Ryan Langerhans

SP - Felix Hernandez
SP - Doug Fister
SP - Jason Vargas
SP - Pineda?

I won't even speculate on bullpen, which as we all know isn't a big deal.

The Mariners have a solid core, and actually a pretty complete collection of position players. They will definitely need to pick up a 1B and would probably like to pick up a starting catcher in the offseason. A backup first baseman who can hit some would be a very critical addition, as well. Milton Bradley can't be counted on to stay healthy, even with DHing every day. Only having a utility infielder to backup 1B means when the first baseman goes down, you have an offensive liability playing an offensive position without the ability to make up the gap with their glove. Having a RoboRob, Langerhans, JoWilson bench is pretty okay considering their respective roles.

The starting rotation after Felix is a collection of 5th starters that pitch like 4th starters sometimes. Pineda could see time with the club sooner rather than later, but he isn't good enough at this point to slot in behind Felix. Having great starting pitching isn't a necessity, but having the "feast or famine" that we have this year, minus Cliff Lee, minus the amazing performance of Fister thus far means there will be a whole lot more famine than we've seen so far this year.

We need and will almost certainly acquire: A first baseman, at least one good starting pitcher.
We should upgrade to contend in 2011: Catcher, SS, 1B/PH bench role, our other rotation spots.
If we solve all those problems we would look to grab players at: LF, DH, bullpen.

This team doesn't have that much dead weight, but we aren't very close to even an 85 win team in 2011 either. Trading Cliff Lee for someone that can fill one of those holes would be a good start, but even then we should expect Z to be busy once again before next April rolls around.

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