After a disappointing end to season 10, management has vowed to take an aggresive but different approach to improving their team. Unlike recent years, when the team has focused heavily in the acquisition of pitching, the new Lightning GM announced today that his team will focus on hitting and improving on base percentage. "We are looking to improve our offense while building on our existing strengths", adding that the team will "pursue trades rather than significantly add to the payroll by overspending in the free agent market". No details on likely deals were revealed.
Last year, the team traded away emerging star Endy Horton in return for pitching. Season 10 AL Rookie of the Year Pascual Roque returns for his sophomore season as the team's ace, anchoring a young pitching staff that is likely to include rookies Ivan Henriquez, Andrew Harris, and Willie Rivera. It is not yet clear what role Woody Mullin will play for the Lightning, after missing most of last season while recovering on the disabled list. Uncertainty also surrounds the role of former All Star closer Joe Gibbons, on whom the team holds a mutual option that has not been exercised. Even if he returns, Gibbons is likely to lose his role as closer if prospect Andres Melo is ready for the job.
In addition to Roque, other brightspots return from Season 10. Gold Glove award winner C Carlton Wilkinson and LF Jin-Chi Dong are secure in their spots. This should be an exciting season for the Seattle Lightning.