Jim Bowden wrote a great article today for ESPN insider about the Mariners being the next Rays. For those of you who don't have insider, first of all, get it, because it's definitely a worthy purchase. But if you don't want to shell out the sixty bucks for the two year membership, I'll give you a quick summary.
Bowden thinks that the Mariners could easily contend by 2014 because of the brilliant plan put together by Jack Zdurencik. Specifically, he points out how the M's, like the Rays, have built up their system through great young pitching. Behind the cornerstone, Felix Hernandez, the M's have a smattering of young pitching that could take them to the playoffs in a few years. Danny Hultzen and Taijuan Walker show the most promise, but James Paxton and Erasmo Ramirez also offer hope.
Bowden says he has only seen three other rotations comparable to what the Mariners have in the works:
1. The Rays current staff
2. The Braves rotation with Glavine, Smoltz and Maddux
3. The A's rotation of Mulder, Zito, and Hudson (which we all remember so well)
He also touches on Ackley and the recently acquired Jesus Montero as more key pieces for their future contention. He calls Montero what Evan Longoria was for the Rays.
Overall, Bowden, a former GM himself, praises the M's for exactly what all of us in Seattle are hoping will come to fruition. It's great to know someone else believes in Seattle again. Go M's.