https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/maven-user-photos/mariners/content/VbhNSmep50q-9TR4xlFwHg/6ZI7kFSNVUWT5yEVmNbtJQ Pitcher Marco Gonzales 2019 IS ENDING TONIGHT. HOW WILL 2020 BE? The 2019 year…

Jim Caple

https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/maven-user-photos/mariners/content/VbhNSmep50q-9TR4xlFwHg/6ZI7kFSNVUWT5yEVmNbtJQ Pitcher Marco Gonzales

2019 IS ENDING TONIGHT. HOW WILL 2020 BE?

The 2019 year ends today with New Year’s Eve. And also brings up some memories of the Mariners’ season in 2019, which had some good moments but also many bad ones.

For instance, the Mariners opened the season in Tokyo when they won both games there and where Ichiro was widely cheered in the two games he played before retiring.

Seattle also started the season 13-2 – including winning three of four games against the 2018 World Series champion Red Sox in their opening series in Seattle -- and were in first place until April 27. Edgar Martinez also was inducted into the Hall of Fame, which he so well deserved.

But the other parts of the season did not go well. After April 26, the Mariners wound up losing 83 games the rest of the season (94 overall) and finished in last place. Former great Felix Hernandez had an injury and a bad season, finishing 1-8 with a 6.40 ERA. Still, he received a huge ovation in his final start because of his huge popularity. Unfortunately, he will almost certainly not be on the team again, so there will be no King Felix crowd in the left field corner this season.

So how will the upcoming 2020 year go? Impossible to say, though do not expect the Mariners in the World Series. And maybe not the Astros, either, who lost one of their best pitchers, Gerrit Cole. Although the Angels could be better with their new, great manager Joe Maddon (who managed the Cubs to their first World Series championship in 108 years) and outfielder Mike Trout, the best player in the majors.

But perhaps Seattle will improve as well. After all, the Mariners do have some current talent.

Marco Gonzales is a good pitcher, going 16-13 with a 3.99 ERA in 2019. Perhaps Yusei Kikuchi will improve and possibly pitch like he did in Japan rather than his 6-11, 5.46 season with Seattle in 2019 (though he did have a couple good games). Hopefully, outfielder Mitch Haniger, who was great in 2018 but missed a lot of 2019 with injury, will be healthy and help the team again.

And maybe some of the upcoming prospects such as Jarred Kelenic and Evan White along with current players such as Shed Long will be good. Or better.

There are rumors that Dee Gordon and Kyle Seager could be traded before or during the season. That would be terrible considering Gordon is a great second baseman and such a fun person to see on videos while Seager is also a good third baseman who hit a fair number of homers after returning from injury last season. It would be much better if they stay with the team.

Hopefully, Jerry Dipoto will stop trading away all his best players in 2020 which he has done so often in recent years and which has really hurt the team. And that the players they currently have will get better and better.

We will see how the coming 2020 season goes. The Mariners may not improve a lot but we will see. Spring training begins Feb.12 when pitchers and catchers report, followed by position players five days later. And the season starts March 26 at home against the Rangers.

Best wishes to the Mariners for 2020. And for the rest of the decade as well, when hopefully the Mariners will finally return to the playoffs.