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Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.

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March 31, 2008 7:52 AM

Opening Day

Posted by Geoff Baker

Here we are. After a long winter and spring of guesswork, it's time to find out what the 2008 Seattle Mariners are really all about. You've heard my take on things. Had time to toss that all around. Here is what some other pundits think about this team's chances:

Peter Gammons of ESPN sees the Angels winning the AL West. But he also thinks Felix Hernandez will be top-three in the Cy Young Award chase and that Jeff Clement and Wladimir Balentien will be contributors in the division playoff race. Agree with his take on the two latter players, not the former.

In fact, 10 out of 19 ESPN pundits polled took the Angels in the division. The other nine picked the Mariners. Prettty split opinion. One guy picks Erik Bedard as Cy Young winner. None take "King'' Felix.

Tom Verducci of CNNSI picks the Angels, saying he was tempted to choose the M's, but that there are too many questions in their day-to-day lineup.

Over at Fox Sports, Ken Rosenthal picks the Braves to win it all. He doesn't think the Mariners have enough in their lineup to win the AL West. Gives that to the Angels.

At CBS Sportsline, baseball writer Scott Miller picks the M's to win the West.

"Erik Bedard and Felix Hernandez could be the best match in Seattle since Jimi Hendrix and his guitar,'' Miller writes.

OK, you've heard from us. What do you think? Let's get it all down now for posterity. Your picks. We'll check them out at season's end.

By the way, to answer your questions about R.A. Dickey clearing waivers. It's important to remember that most Rule 5 picks aren't in their 30s with major league experience. They are usually young minor leaguers with plenty of minor league options left. Once the M's traded for Dickey's rights from the Minnesota Twins last week, he became like any other player. A guy in his 30s out of minor league options. That means, in order to be sent down, he had to be put through waivers.

CORRECTION (12:23 p.m.): OK, this is a great way to kick off the new season, but I'm already wrong about something. Disregard everything I wrote about Dickey above. Just re-checked the Rule 5 regulations and had it laid out for me. All Rule 5 players being offered back to their former teams have to first clear waivers. Yes, that's right. Every MLB team had a shot at Dickey before the trade with the Twins was consumated. This goes for all players, regardless of age or major league experience. And whether or not they have options left. Sorry for the confusion.

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