Despite the fence adjustments, I've noticed a lack of free agents signing of significance willing to sign here this off season. I suppose it will take a year of evidence to convince them that the place really is different (and a willingness of our management to spend).
I'm not focused purely on HRs as the measure. In 2012, of the 14 AL teams, we were 11th in HRs, but 13th in doubles, and dead last in hits and OBP. The Safeco ballpark factors reinforce that the Safeco of old was more a killer doubles and hits in general than it was HRs. A less expansive outfield should mean more balls caroming off the outfield fences, leading to more doubles and hits in general.
"I suppose it will take a year of evidence to convince them that the place really is different..."
I assumed that would be the case. You can't expect anybody to believe it's a better hitter's environment until they've seen evidence of that.
Appreciate the enthusiasm, but Optimistic AND realistic. I'm afraid you have it half right, the optimistic part. Taking the career averages of the vets over their last three full MLB season and project some minimum to modest improvement (5% to 15%) of the young guys and here is dose of reality for the lineup. This assumes they stay healthy and play at least 140 games:
2B Ackley - 272/15/58, 352OBP, 15SBCF Gutierrez - 284/16/67, 321OBP, 21SB3B Seager - 273/23/98 - 15SBDH Morales - 289/28/91RF Morse - 291/26/801B Smoak - 243/23/65C Montero - 293/18/72LF Saunders - 284/21/68, 24SBSS Ryan - 239/3/36, 13SB
Would love to see your numbers, but very doubtful. These numbers are realistic and if the guys stay healthy and play to their potential, this season could be very interesting and the M's could surprise a lot of people.