So, I downloaded the full minors rosters for MLB:The Show 2011 and figured I'd start up a Mariners franchise to see if I can do something with them. I have a solid base of experience with craptastic teams, having focused heavily on playing the Royals for some time.
I'll see if I can't move along at a decent clip, particularly with the 2011 season (When I'm getting serious about playing games, I'll usually play one per series -- The sim engine is surprisingly good). I'm playing a game a week for spring training because, well, who cares?
At first glance, I'm thinking it'll take at least two or three years to get into the playoffs (Could make a run in 2012, but would have to get pretty stupid in Free Agency, and I like to build up a base of solid minor league teams as well as competing in the bigs).
As it stands, I'm about ten games into spring training and... Jeez, these guys suck. This year's Mariners remind me strongly of last years Royals. Felix is even better than Zack, though there's little to no offensive support behind him. Decent speed on the basepaths, and I'm actually pretty happy with the defense at this point -- Though things will have to change a bit, great D isn't so great when the guys in question have no bats.
Some thoughts from the first batch of spring training:
Jack Cust sucks. Hard. In a 'Why is this guy even on the team' sort of way. Finding a DH that can actually hit will be an early season priority. If I have to drag up a one-trick pony hitter from AA, I fully intend to. Gah.
Pineda will be good. It will probably not be THIS year, though. Could've probably stood a season in the minors, but there really isn't much of a choice from a quick glance at the rotation.
Smoak could be a stud, but again... Probably not this year.
Bedard, Fister, Vargas -- Meh.
Desperately need another catcher. Olivo is looking like a solid roster slot, but if he stubs a toe or needs a day off we're fricked. I've already brought up Bard for the role, but it was an act of desperation.
Infield: I like Wilson's glove so far. Ditto with Figgins. The only lock at this point, though, is Smoak. Dustin Ackley has tons of potential, but is a long way off.
Outfield: A whole lot of Meh. Ichiro is Ichiro, but has a lot of mileage -- Probably isn't going to be part of a -successful- Mariners team, which is a few years off.
Minors: Honestly? Kansas City's kids looked a lot better. There are a few promising faces down there, but it really is slim pickings with the occasionally hopeful shot at mediocrity.
Problems: Uh... Everything. We have one, maybe two slots in the rotation that are solid. The bullpen is mediocre at first glance. Aardsma is decent but unspectacular at this point, and suffers the same situation that Soria has in KC. Not many games to save if you can't score any runs. I'd say C, 1B, RF are okay for now, everything else is fair game... But I don't really have anyone worth trading for anything that would help. Felix is locked down long-term to a huge contract, but attendence and revenue would likely drop into the toilet if I tried to deal him for a couple prospects.
THIS is going to be interesting.
As it stands: 4-1 start to preseason. Then came the skid, currently at 5-6.