There's been some talk that management is poised to alter Safeco Field next year to make it a more hitter-friendly environment.
I, personally, would be against such a move. There have been many convincing arguments posted here and other places in the blogosphere. To summarize a few:
1. The park has hurt opponents just as much as the Mariners. Why mess with something that doesn't affect, on average, who wins or loses a game?
2. The Mariner's star right now is a pitcher. I don't think Felix would approve--just like Alex Rodriguez didn't approve of Safeco's big outfield a decade ago.
3. The park effect is likely less than it seems this year because the Mariners have been unlucky at home. Would you want to move the fences in, only to see the park turn into a bandbox next year?
4. The park has had a negligible effect on individual player's approach to hitting. Why mess with something that doesn't really change what hitters are trying to do?
and 5. What if the park does mess with confidence of young players (Justin Smoak!)? In a year from now, we are likely to see Felix Hernandez, Danny Hultez, and Erasmo Ramirez in the majors, with Taijuan Walker and James Paxton waiting in Tacoma for a call-up. You think short fences would ease Smoak's confidence and the other members of the 2nd and 3rd year core without affecting any of the rookie pitchers? You can't make this argument without acknowledging that the strength of the major-league team at this time next year could be young pitching.
1. But dingers!
There's one more argument against short fences, that, I think most people overlook. Hitters parks are disadvantageous to teams. Baseball pitchers are much more likely to get injured than baseball position players. Many of these injuries occur because of heavy workloads. On the other hand, playing more innings has little to no effect on a position player's chances of getting injured.
And hitter's parks force pitchers to pitch more innings. Sure, many of these innings would go to the Bartenders and Brandon Leagues and Charlie Furbushes of the world. But do the Mariners really want an added strain to their young bullpen? Wouldn't moving the fences eliminate the slight advantage that the Mariners currently have?
If the organization brings the fences in next year, it will be because of dingers--not because of young players. The Mariners will be putting the organization at a disadvantage, not an advantage, by changing their park.