Seattle Mariners Rumors: Who Is Opening Day Starter, Question Partially Addressed By ‘MLB’ Report

There are a lot of Seattle Mariners rumors about who will make the opening day start at Safeco Field.

Felix Hernandez With Seattle Mariners Manager
Lindsey Wasson / Getty Images

There are a lot of Seattle Mariners rumors about who will make the opening day start at Safeco Field.

Seattle Mariners rumors about the opening day starter still persist. Even with spring training winding down for the Mariners, manager Scott Servais still hasn’t announced who will take the mound on opening day. Over the weekend, things got even more interesting as it was hinted that Felix Hernandez could be ready to pitch that game on March 29.

In a report by Greg Johns for MLB.com, he stated that James Paxton is currently lined up to start opening day for the Seattle Mariners. If that ends up being the case, it would end the club record streak of 11 opening day starts that Felix Hernandez has going. On Saturday (March 17), in another report for MLB.com, Johns confirmed that the decision still hasn’t been announced by Servais. Johns also provided an injury update on Hernandez, which states that the former Cy Young winner had a pain-free pitching stint.

So what do all these Seattle Mariners rumors mean? It means things could still be up in the air. It’s entirely possible that Scott Servais is doing everything possible to make sure that Felix Hernandez can make that opening day start. To get to that point, though, he still has more rehab to do. Hernandez looked good during a 38-pitch bullpen session on Friday (March 16) and is now scheduled to throw two-three innings in a Minor League game on Monday (March 19).

If Hernandez looks good on Monday, he could get one more Cactus League start in the next week, which could help him work up his arm strength to make the opening day rotation. If he makes that final spring training start on or before March 24, Felix Hernandez could then make his 12th-straight opening day start. It would certainly add to the legacy that he is establishing with the franchise, even if he could end up on a pitch count to open the 2018 regular season.

The other option for the team is to go with left-hander James Paxton, who is now considered by many fans and analysts to be the ace of the pitching staff. Paxton has struggled a bit this spring, posting a 10.32 ERA in just 11 1/3 innings of work. That includes 13 earned runs on 16 hits, four walks, and three home runs given up. Paxton looked better on Wednesday (March 13), giving up just two runs in 4 2/3 innings of work. He is tentatively scheduled to start Monday against the Los Angeles Angels.

With both Hernandez and Paxton on the mound Monday, how they look could determine the outcome of these Seattle Mariners rumors. By the time manager Scott Servais gives his interviews on Tuesday (March 20), the Mariners may finally have an answer about who will make the opening day start at Safeco Field.