PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mariners radio broadcaster Aaron Goldsmith is starting his second season with Seattle and offered his thoughts on the coming season in a conversation with MLB.com in advance of Opening Day.
MLB.com: Aaron, you've been in camp watching the Mariners all spring. What have you seen, and what have you liked?
Goldsmith: There's a lot to like so far this spring for the Mariners. I think everyone kinda knows you have to say that with a little bit of a grain of salt. It is Cactus League play, after all. But the wins have been there for the Mariners; the performance by the starting rotation has been there for the most part as well. The bullpen has looked solid and has been healthy, and we're seeing a lot of big offensive performances so far this spring. We all know Brad Miller has been scorching the Cactus League. Dustin Ackley, Justin Smoak, they've been looking good as well, as has Michael Saunders. So by far, there have been more good things than bad things for the Mariners this spring.
MLB.com: You guys have a radio thing you do before every game, choosing a 'Pick to Click' each day. I'm going to ask you, big picture here as we're getting close to Opening Day: Who would be your pick to click for the season for the Mariners this year?
Goldsmith: I think my pick to click this year, and there are a lot of guys to choose from, I'm going to go with Michael Saunders. I think this is the season that we see Michael really put everything together. Last year he had that shoulder injury in April against the Astros at Safeco that really derailed him. He had a rough month of May and was limited in April. I think Michael is one of those guys that has all the tools -- we know he can run, he can hit, he can throw, he can field. He's the most versatile outfielder the Mariners have. So I think Michael is the type of player that if everything comes together, if he clicks this year, it's going to mean big things for the Mariners.
MLB.com: One guy you haven't even mentioned yet that I think could have an impact on this team, Robinson Cano. What have you seen from this guy this spring with his impact on everything, and what do you see going forward?
Goldsmith: Well, if we didn't know already, I think it's safe to say at this point, Robinson knows how to hit. He's had the most impressive offensive performances we've seen in a lot of ways as far as consistency in spring. Brad Miller has had all the extra-base hits, the total bases, the home runs, the triples. He's been electrifying. But Robinson is a guy who just gets up there and, whether he's missed a couple of days because of a root canal or five days going back to the Dominican for some personal issues, the guy doesn't skip a beat. What we've talked about on the broadcast a lot with Cano is that he's so good offensively, unfortunately it almost overshadows his defense. This guy has won two Gold Gloves, and you wonder if he was more like a .270 hitter if somebody would say, 'Man, this guy is really good at second base.' But because he hits well over .300 with a lot of pop every year, it's kind of like, 'Oh yeah, he plays second, too.' But when you get to watch him every day at second base, it's really impressive, both the arm strength and just his overall ability to field.
MLB.com: One of the benefits of being a radio guy, you get to sit down with the skipper and get his thoughts one on one every morning. What are your impressions of Lloyd McClendon this spring?
Goldsmith: You know, I've talked with some of the guys about Lloyd and just what they think of him this spring, and I think Kyle Seager kind of summed it up better than anybody. He said there's a sense of quiet, calm intensity with Lloyd McClendon. He's one of these guys who, you know he's competitive and he really understands the urgency to win in Seattle. Which I think strikes all of us pretty quickly with Lloyd. He's not a yeller and a screamer, but he's pretty intense. He's calm, quiet, but pretty intense. To me, that's what makes Lloyd so unique. And I'm really excited to see how this transitions into April. Because obviously you can win a lot of games in the Cactus League and it means nothing long-term. It means something right now, but in terms of the standings, Lloyd will be the first to tell you, 'Hey, it's the Cactus League.' So how will his demeanor and how will these wins and losses stack up come Opening Day against the Angels and down the road from there?
MLB.com: With Opening Day coming up, Aaron, for all these players, a year ago you were a rookie coming up out of the Minor Leagues with your first shot at Major League play-by-play coming with the Mariners. What do you remember about Opening Day last year, your nerves and everything there, and how much different is it this year with a year under your belt?
Goldsmith: You know, I was so nervous last year for the charity game against the Padres [in Spring Training] because that was my first time on the radio with the Mariners. And of course we had 25 or 27 Spring Training broadcasts that I could kind of work the nerves out. So I was nervous for Opening Day last year against Oakland, but I actually wasn't as nervous as I was for that charity game against the Padres. That's the biggest Spring Training game I'll ever go through in my life; there's no doubt about it. But it was a very exciting Opening Day last year in Oakland. It wasn't maybe the most scenic place to begin your broadcasting career, at the Coliseum in Oakland, but nonetheless it was huge for me, and I had such a great time. Rick [Rizzs] is the best. There's not a better guy to work with in the Major Leagues. So I can't wait to get things going with Rick and [producer] Kevin [Cremin] and the rest of the guys here for Year 2."
MLB.com: And now that you've had this gig for a year, what's cooler? Is it better to hang out with the writers that get to cover the team every day, or to hang with the broadcasters?
Goldsmith: You know, the writers, they know what's going on. They've got the inside scoop. But when you're with the radio crew, you're never going to miss a meal. I don't know. The writers, you guys are so busy blogging and tweeting, I say, 'Guys, we've got to get some carbs and protein in us. What's going on? Let's eat.' You guys are so tied up, you're here so early and so late. The radio guys, we do a lot of work from home, we roll in here, we do the broadcast. We show up early, of course, especially Rick. So I've got to stick with the broadcast side on this. But, hey, not to take anything away from the writers. You asked me to do this, after all, and I owe you one now.
Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog.