2008 Seattle Mariners
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2008 Seattle Mariners / Franchise: Seattle Mariners / BR Team Page
The 2007 Seattle Mariners had come within just a few games of catching the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West, but many fans and baseball people felt that the team over-performed to reach that level. In response to this general consensus, and in an attempt to try and bridge the gap between front-running Los Angeles and themselves, the 2008 Mariners first looked within to try and bolster the rotation, sending young bullpen arms Brandon Morrow and Ryan Rowland-Smith to Winter League teams to stretch out their pitch counts and refine their repertoires to work as starting pitchers. Though Morrow and Rowland-Smith both performed admirably in their starts, the front office jumped at the opportunity to acquire a proven top-of-the-rotation starter in the 2007/2008 off-season.
Sensing that signability could become an issue after his team-controlled years expired, the Baltimore Orioles brass decided early in the off-season that their ace, Erik Bedard, would better serve the rebuilding Orioles as trade bait than as their #1 starter for 2 seasons, and they shopped the lefty around, with Seattle being the top bidder (it appeared) from day one. The prize being offered in the package from Seattle was young CF Adam Jones; the Mariners' top hitting prospect and perceived savior for the past several seasons. The deal was rumored complete for several weeks before the teams finally announced that the deal was done. The final cost to land Bedard for the M's ended up being Jones along with LH reliever George Sherrill, and minor league arms Chris Tillman, Tony Butler and Kameron Mickolio. Many experts and fans felt that Mariner GM Bill Bavasi had paid too much to land Bedard, but his addition paired with the signing of free agent starter Carlos Silva unarguably upgraded Seattle's rotation.
The offensive focus in the off-season was for a left-handed hitting corner OF. Having let RF Jose Guillen - who tied for 2nd on the 2007 M's with 99 RBI - become a free agent after the season, and having traded away the obvious in-house replacement in Jones, Seattle needed to attempt to replace his production via the free agent market. They turned to well-traveled OF Brad Wilkerson, coming off of a 20-HR season with the Texas Rangers, to fill Guillen's spot as the everyday RF.
All the hype around the team was not to be. Having let Guillen go, they created a hole in the lineup that could not be filled. On June 16, they fired general manager Bill Bavasi, replacing him on an interim basis by Lee Pelekoudas. Three days later, field manager John McLaren was fired, as well, having led the team to a league-worst 25-47 record.
2008 Opening Day Lineup
Awards and Honors