2014 was an exciting year for a suddenly revitalized Seattle Mariners team.

Robinson Cano was brilliant in his first season in Seattle, and Felix Hernandez just missed out on a Cy Young award, leading the Mariners to within one game of a playoff spot after the franchise looked lost for the previous four years.

In 2015, things should be even more exciting. The Mariners are poised to make the postseason for the first time since 2001 and even look like a World Series contender on paper.

The pieces are in place for the Mariners to be an excellent team in 2015, but first they must adhere to some New Year’s resolutions.


Add some depth

The Mariners rounded out their 2015 starting lineup on Tuesday, acquiring Seth Smith in exchange for Brandon Maurer, per Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. 

However, if one or more starters get injuredwhich is almost certain to happenthe Mariners would be in trouble from a depth standpoint.

Smith will be used in the corner spots against righties, and Justin Ruggiano can play all three outfield positions if needed. Still, Seattle could use another outfielder, as they don’t want to be playing Nelson Cruz extensively in the field or giving Stefen Romero regular at-bats should someone go down.

Logan Morrison has won the first-base job, but he has never played more than 123 games in a season. Unless Morrison suddenly sheds his injury-prone label, the Mariners could be looking at a lot of Jesus Montero or Ji-Man Choi.

The best depth addition for the Mariners would be someone who can play the corner outfield and fill in at first base. Ben Zobrist fits in well with the roster and appears to be available after the Tampa Bay Rays agreed to a deal with Asdrubal Cabrera on Tuesday, per Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

However, just about every team in the majors could use Zobrist‘s versatility, so he is going to cost some talent. The Mariners might be better off targeting inexpensive trade candidates (like Ruggiano) or adding a free agent like Emilio Bonifacio for next to nothing.

A team in contention for a division—or even pennant—shouldn’t be relying on Willie Bloomquist, Romero and James Jones as it’s primary depth pieces. Seattle’s front office has done an excellent job of assembling a capable starting lineup, but it needs to apply some finishing touches before opening day.


Work on converting Brad Miller into an outfielder

One of the best in-house outfield options is converting Miller to the outfield. Miller is the type of athlete who could be successful in at least a corner spot and could fill a need on Seattle’s roster in a Zobrist-like type of role.

With Smith around, Miller won’t necessarily be needed as part of a right-field platoon. Still, he can help with the depth problems listed above and would allow the Mariners to keep both Chris Taylor and Miller in the lineup regularly, should they both play well.

It’s hard to predict how any player will respond to a position change, but the Mariners have had some success in the past transitioning infielders to the outfield. Outfield coach Andy Van Slyke deserves plenty of credit for helping Dustin Ackley convert into a successful left fielder, and he should get a chance to do the same with Miller.

Even it doesn’t pan out, there’s no harm in getting Miller some outfield reps during spring training.


Avoid selling the farm

General manager Jack Zduriencik has done a nice job of building a contender without giving up much top-tier young talent. Trading prospects could become even more tempting at the 2015 deadline depending on the situation the Mariners are in.

Apart from a questionable Michael Saunders trade, Zduriencik‘s deals dating back to last offseason have all been sound. The Mariners have been able to acquire players who filled needs while only giving up marginal prospects such as Abraham Almonte, Matt Brazis and Carter Capps.

The only real big name to be traded was Nick Franklin, but he was blocked in Seattle and returned a player with more than one year of team control.

Zduriencik must continue that for the rest of the offseason and the trade deadline. Young talent like Taijuan Walker and D.J. Peterson should not be leaving Seattle, particularly for rental players, even if the Mariners have a “win now” focus.

The Mariners have assembled a roster that can compete both now and in the future. They need to keep it that way in 2015.

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