Hope is supposed to spring eternal on the opening day, but that’s not necessarily the case for the Seattle Mariners.
The M’s haven’t been to the playoffs since 2001. It’s the longest current drought in American sports and a lot of so-called experts think it will continue this season.
However, there are reasons to get excited about the season that starts Thursday night at 7:10 against Cleveland. Some predict blockbuster trades, wild card contention and one of baseball’s most coveted prizes.
Here’s a look at one some national media outlets are predicting this season has in store for the Mariners:
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The newspaper’s seven baseball reporters picked Houston to win the American League West and for the Mariners to miss out on a wild card spot.
Three pick Cleveland to win the World Series, while the Dodgers, Houston, Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees were each the pick of one writer.
The paper predicts the Mariners will finish 81-81 and in third place behind Houston (100-62) and Los Angeles (87-75).
Baseball writer Scott Miller predicts the Mariners will finish third in the AL West and Cleveland will beat Arizona in the World Series.
Three percent of more than 70,000 voters think the Mariners will win the AL West, while 83 percent pick Houston and 10 percent pick the Angels. Texas and Oakland each collected 2 percent of the vote. One percent picked the Mariners to win the American League, well behind the New York Yankees (34 percent).
The Yankees also received the most votes (21 percent) to win the World Series.
A poll of 29 ESPN baseball experts showed the majority think Houston will win the AL West and go on to repeat as World Series champs.
Writer Mike Oz predicts the Mariners will go 86-76 and finish second in the AL West, but, like the website’s other five baseball experts, he doesn’t envision them in the playoffs. Jeff Passan, Tim Brown and Liz Roscher pick the Mariners to finish last in the division.
Odds posted Thursday morning by My Top Sportsbooks give the Mariners 6-to-1 odds of making the playoffs, 15-to-1 odds of winning the AL West and 50-to-1 odds of winning the World Series.
▪ The prediction every M’s fan hopes comes true: The M’s are going to end the longest current playoff drought in American sports by winning the second AL wild card, predicts John Harper of the New York Daily News.
▪ The New York Yankees will send Albert Abreu and Clint Frazier to the Mariners for lefty James Paxton, predicts Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. He also predicts the M’s “will finally acknowledge the need to get off their hamster wheel and take a step back in order to take three steps forward.”
▪ Gabriel Baumgaertner of Sports Illustrated predicts the Mariners will struggle, fire manager Scott Servais and unload Nelson Cruz, Kyle Seager and Robinson Cano. Baumgaertner predicts the M’s will send Cano to St. Louis.
▪ The Houston Astros will wrap up the AL West by June, predicts Bob Nightengale of USA Today. “(The Astros) are the Harlem Globetrotters, and the rest of the AL West will play the role of the Washington Generals,” he writes.
▪ Fantasy baseball writer Michael Waterloo of the New York Daily News predicts, Cruz will fail to hit 25 homers and Paxton will finish the season as one of the league’s 10 best pitchers.
▪ Adam Strangis of Fansided.com, predicts Paxton will win the AL Cy Young Award.
▪ Hero Sports predicts the Mariners will go 82-80 and contend for a Wild Card spot.
▪ The Mariners “will always disappoint you,” warns Grant Brisbee of sbnation.com. Wait, is that a bold prediction or a history lesson?