Seattle Mariners

John McGrath’s Major League Baseball power rankings

1. Washington Nationals: Tanner Roark started 31 games last year, finished 15-10 with a 2.85 ERA – and he can’t find room in the Nats’ five-man rotation.

2. Los Angeles Dodgers: Lefty-righty starting-pitching combo of Clayton Kershaw and Zach Greinke reminiscent of Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale.

3. Seattle Mariners: If Safeco Field fans learn the Mariners are eliminated from the playoff race by an update on the out-of-town scoreboard midway through the season finale, there won’t be a standing ovation.

4. Cleveland Indians: With their impressive balance of power hitting and power pitching, Tribe’s only weakness is catching fly balls and fielding grounders.

5. St. Louis Cardinals: Cards have qualified for 11 playoffs since 2000. And the beat goes on.

6. Detroit Tigers: Departures of Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello – and concerns about the right arm of Justin Verlander – transform focus from run prevention to run production.

7. Los Angeles Angels: Easy to forget Angels won 98 games last year, most in MLB.

8. Pittsburgh Pirates: After back-to-back trips to the playoffs, Bucs no longer the Little Engine That Could.

9. San Francisco Giants: It’s unlikely the Giants will win a fourth World Series in six years. Then again, it was unlikely they’d win three of them in five.

10. Chicago White Sox: While the Cubs and the Wrigley Field quagmire dominated the offseason headlines in Chicago, White Sox quietly retooled into a contender.

11. Boston Red Sox: With acquisitions of Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez, Red Sox won’t have any trouble scoring runs. Neither will opponents.

12. Miami Marlins: The four most electrifying names in baseball? Giancarlo Cruz-Michael Stanton.

13. Toronto Blue Jays: With Royals out of the mix, Jays now own MLB’s longest playoff drought. Their last postseason game ended with Joe Carter home run that won the 1993 World Series.

14. Baltimore Orioles: Defending AL East champs trusting that healthy Manny Machado and Matt Wieters will compensate for losing Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis.

15. Kansas City Royals: The gloves are gold; the bullpen is peerless. But the AL Central is a bear, and there’s a target on their backs.

16. Oakland A’s: Offseason makeover suggests a A’s are set up for a regression, but Billy Beane knows what he’s doing – even when it seems like he doesn’t.

17. San Diego Padres: Good-guy manager Bud Black finally has some cards to play.

18. Chicago Cubs: Although a year away, the Cubs, who haven’t won 90 games consecutively since the Hoover Administration, primed for unprecedented long-term success.

19. New York Mets: Solid rotation – and a schedule posing 38 games against division dregs Atlanta and Philadelphia – could be enough to sneak into the wild-card round.

20. Tampa Bay Rays: Four ex-M’s (John Jaso, Asdrubal Cabrera, Nick Franklin, Rene Rivera) in probable everyday lineup.

21. Milwaukee Brewers: Badgers fan Aaron Rodgers won’t be jumping on this bandwagon, but the Crew sure could use his right arm.

22. Houston Astros: All-or-nothing-at-all sluggers are fun to watch, a drain to manage.

23. New York Yankees: Age and injuries – funny how those things go together – will team up to doom Yanks to their first losing record since 1992.

24. Cincinnati Reds: Ace pitcher Johnny Cueto is entering the final year of his deal with a team that likely won’t contend, so you know what that means.

25. Texas Rangers: Just when it seemed like 2014 was a cursed memory, Rangers lost Yu Darvish and Jurickson Profar for 2015.

26. Atlanta Braves: Trading Justin and Evan Gattis for prospects a sign Braves reconstruction blueprint coincides with 2017 debut of new stadium.

27. Colorado Rockies: Rockies’ lament is almost as old as the mountain range to their west: No starting pitching.

28. Minnesota Twins: Former catcher Joe Mauer looking to bounce back from career-worst season.

29. Arizona Diamondbacks: First big move by new front-office tandem of Tony LaRussa and Dave Stewart was hiring A’s bench coach Chip Hale as manager.

30. Philadelphia Phillies: Not too early to start wondering how much Phils will get for No. 1 starter Cole Hamels in inevitable trade.

– John McGrath, staff writer

  Comments