Spring Training starts on Thursday, and the Mariners will open camp with high hopes, expectations and a few question marks. Speaking of questions, if you have any queries, send them in and we'll do our best to answer as many of them as possible. Edgar Martinez has officially qualified to have his number retired by the Mariners. Is there any chance we'll see No. 11 hanging up on the wall next to 42 during the 2010 season?
-- Stephen C., Redmond, Wash.
That is a question that a lot of Mariners fans have asked since the Hall of Fame election. As far as I know, the organization has not yet made a decision on when the first uniform number will be retired. My guess is that it will be Edgar's No. 11, which has not been worn since he left the game following the 2004 season.
I am not exactly sure who in the organization makes the decision for retiring a uniform number. According to the guidelines listed in the media guide for "retirement of uniform number."
Edgar is the first to qualify under either of the two criteria:
Elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and played in a Mariners uniform for at least five years
Come close to such election and have spent substantially his entire career with the Mariners.
I would think Edgar qualifies for the honor, but no one in the organization has asked for my opinion.
It appears that this team is built to win a lot of close, low scoring games. Will this create a strain on the bullpen, and what are the odds that Chad Cordero could make the team and give the Mariners another experienced closer to go with David Aardsma?
-- Ryan F., Vancouver, Wash.
The veteran right-hander who had 47 saves for the Nationals in 2007 has a tough task ahead of him this spring to earn a spot on the 25-man roster, made even more difficult if the Mariners break camp with 11 pitchers. Cordero spent most of last season in Arizona getting his surgically repaired shoulder in shape and pitched for Class A Everett, which is a long way from the Major Leagues.
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That being said, he still has more career saves (128) than anyone else in camp, so he has that going for him. If he doesn't land a job in the Seattle bullpen and looks healthy in camp, another organization might want to lure him away from the Mariners.
How many pitchers will the Mariners be going into the season with? I believe you can have 10 or 11 pitchers, correct?
-- Landon R., Rochester, Wash.
There is no limit to the number of pitchers a team can carry on a 25-man roster, but most American League teams usually carry 11 or 12. Most AL teams carry one more pitcher than National League teams because, with the absence of the designated-hitter rule, there are more position-player moves during a game than in the AL.
I would expect the Mariners to begin the season with 12 pitchers and cut back to 11 when the starters begin pitching deeper into games.
I'm not a Mariners fan, but I am really excited for this year for them. I really love all the moves they have made and think they will be one of the top teams in the AL next season. What do you think their lineup will be, and how will the rotation and bullpen look?
-- Bryan A., Vernon Hills, Ill.
There are a lot of Mariners fans in Illinois, so feel free to switch your allegiance, Bryan. You are not alone in being excited about the Mariners heading into Spring Training and if they stay healthy could challenge for their first playoff spot since the 116-win team in 2001.
In my opinion, the starting lineup is pretty well set with veteran players at almost every position. The big question marks going into Spring Training are the Nos. 3-5 starters, the No. 1 catcher and how the bench shapes up. I think the least concern is the bullpen. The addition of Brandon League could make it even better than last season, when it was among the best in the AL.
Do you see a trade coming involving one of the outfielders currently on the roster? Outside of Ichiro Suzuki, Franklin Gutierrez and Milton Bradley, there are Eric Byrnes, Ryan Langerhans and Michael Saunders. I can't see the Mariners going into the season with six outfielders.
-- Joe N., Lake Oswego, Ore.
When I do the math, I come to the same conclusion. Carrying six outfielders on the 25-man roster would be almost impossible, and even five would be a stretch if the decision is made to go with 12 pitchers.
I would expect Saunders to wind up at Triple-A Tacoma, at least early in the season, and seeing the way general manager Jack Zduriencik works, I would not rule out a trade.
A kid named Erasmo Ramirez posted some ungodly numbers in Venezuela last summer. Where is he likely to be this season?
-- Rick R., Poulsbo, Wash.
Ramirez, a 19-year-old right-hander from San Salvador, El Salvador, posted an 11-1 record and 0.51 ERA in 14 appearances (13 starts) with his Venezuela Summer League team last season. He struck out 80 batters and walked five (one intentional) in 88 innings.
He more than likely will begin the 2010 season at Class A Pulaski, although it has not been finalized. That decision will be made during the latter stages of Spring Training.
I think people are being very conservative with their Bradley expectations, and deservedly so. I think he could flirt with 90-100 RBIs. How do you see him performing this year?
-- Josh H., Boscawen, N.H.
I agree with you. The switch-hitter has had previous success in the AL West with the Athletics and Rangers and how good of a story would it be to have him do the same thing with the Mariners? I believe that being on the same team as Ken Griffey Jr. will take some of the pressure off Bradley and he'll have as much fun with Griffey around as Ichiro did a year ago, especially in the clubhouse.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.