Season Preview: Seattle Vaportrails

By Ryan A. Gold
Wahoo! Sports

By harsh necessity, Atlas supports the broad sky
on his head and unwearying arms,
at the earth’s limits, near the clear voiced Hesperides,
for his is the doom decreed for him
by Zeus the counselor.

The poet Hesiod wrote these lines about the Titan, Atlas, about two thousand years ago. Atlas fought with the Titans against the Olympians and when the Titans went down on a Zeus walk off home run, Zeus condemned him to hold up the heavens for all eternity. It’s unclear just what Albert Pujols did to deserve a similar fate, but he’ll be asked to hold up what chances the Vapes, one of FBB’s more successful franchise, will have this season. Now if that’s not a torturous segue, I don’t know what is, but hey this is my tenth one of these so cut me some slack.

It’s tough to tell what’s going on with the Vaportrails this year. It started with the drafting of Joe Nathan, an uncharacteristic gaff. Aaron Hill, the only second baseman on the roster, has been a ghostly inhabitant at the keystone with no replacement as he languishes on the DL. Bedard and Lidge currently occupy the DL spots but there’s no guarantee either will be contributors this year. Chone Figgins is off to a slow start. Ellsbury is nicked up. The bullpen features two shaky closers in Ryan Franklin and David Aardsma while Jose Mijares gives the Trails yet another player on the DL.

There are some nice pieces here. Vlad Guerrero was a shrewd pick and will probably contribute well above his 17th round draft slot. The roster is really outfield heavy with Victorino, Hawpe, Ludwick and Byrd all fighting for playing time. Danny Haren should provide solid numbers, at least through July, and Chris Carpenter is a true ace. Yovanni Gallardo has the stuff to be a third ace in this hand but he’s off to a slow start so far.
Buehrle and Lackey bring similar skill sets but the innings eater type sometimes can be more of a difference maker on the real diamond than in this game.

And yet, in spite of all the Vapes came roaring out of the gate and blew out the Dish in week one. Which brings us around to Pujols once again, who, like our friend Atlas, hoisted the team on his shoulders hitting more than half the home runs for the week, driving in a third of the team’s runs and scoring a quarter of them. As long as he’s around and healthy, the Vapes will be dangerous in any given week.

I just don’t think a one man team gets it done in this year’s league though and I’m not seeing enough in the complimentary players to be able to recommend Cloudie’s boys this year.

Prediction: Just miss the playoffs


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