Ready or not, here comes the second half of the Seattle Mariners season. Here are three things I will be keeping an eye on.

1) Roster moves

We start with the obvious. There will be moves, as there is no doubt general manager Jerry Dipoto would like to trade those on the roster on shorter-term contracts and would listen on just about everyone else – for more on that check out my vodcast with James “Boy Howdy” Osborn.

One thing to keep in mind is post-trade deadline deals are no more as MLB has eliminated waiver trades after July 31. The single deadline should make for more activity in the remaining weeks of July. There will also be September call-ups, which could give us our first look in Seattle of a few of the young players of the Mariners’ future, some of whom we could see arrive before the final month of the season.

2) The progress of Yusei Kikuchi and Justus Sheffield

Kikuchi and Sheffield are two pitchers the Mariners hope to build a rotation around and both have struggled mightily in their first months with the organization.

As I mentioned on the the vodcast, the Mariners have been taking a different approach with Kikuchi in recent weeks, moving beyond the “let him get settled in and adjusted to his new surroundings and competition” phase to becoming more hands-on in tackling his problems on the mound. In addition to the intensive work that is being put in on Kikuchi’s mechanics with director of pitching development Brian DeLunas, they are also encouraging use of the changeup, a pitch he has not thrown much in the past but could benefit him now.

With Sheffield, his move to Double-A appears to have benefited him, as he has allowed just five runs in five starts …read more

Source:: – Sports


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