Seattle still short on pitching

Originally Published: March 1, 2005
By Rob Neyer | ESPN Insider
I was in a roomful of baseball fans recently, and all of us were asked to predict how many games the Seattle Mariners will win in 2005. When my turn came, without benefit of actual thought or study I said "78," which wound up pretty close to the average of the room's guesses: 81.

It's probably fair to say that the gentle fans of the Pacific Northwest are expecting more. And not just because of the typical starry-eyed offseason optimism felt by most fans from San Diego to Boston, and Seattle to Biscayne Bay. After all, the Mariners spent a whole lot of money on a whole lot of hitters in Adrian Beltre, Richie Sexson and Pokey Reese.

OK: Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson. And a whole lot of glove in Pokey Reese.

But that's essentially all the Mariners did this offseason: three significant changes to a roster that lost 99 games in 2004. It seems hardly possible that such a roster could actually win enough games to challenge for anything better than third place in 2005. But then, if my analysis ended there, this wouldn't be much of a column, would it.