Groundhog Day/Year! I don’t know how many years I’ve verbally complained, “Here We Go Again!” Every offseason I trick myself into a little bit of optimism only to see the Mariners irrelevant come October.
Although this year was more successful than most previous Mariners seasons, it was still a major disappointment. Both because of where we finished and how it felt so routine. If only we had a catchy CURSE to blame on our woes.
Confusion and excitement in the offseason as I figured we spent so much time aligning the stars to attract the skills of Shohei Ohtani, only to see him sign with the far worse off Angels. Why would he do this to us? The Mariners had all this International Money, we were probably more likely to give him some innings in the Outfield, our DH was a Free Agent at the end of the year, we could use another starter and we even brought back Ichiro to play with him! Just another missed opportunity.
We signed a Shortstop who has been playing Second Base to play Centerfield for the first time ever. It seemed crazy, but I think the success of Chris Taylor in LA gave us that false hope that Dee could definitely pull it off. Plus, the idea of having Silver Sluggers 1-4 in our lineup made me very excited.
We picked up Ryon Healy, but he got hurt before we even got started. Mike Leake was going to be with us all year. Marco was healthier, Paxton was ready to take the thrown. Then boom Cano goes down, then out with the 80 game suspension and I’m ready to call Time of Death, but to their credit, they performed without Cano. Playing team baseball and grinding out countless one-run games. Which brings me to my highlight of the season.
Edwin Diaz! Watching him make every single professional hitter look like they don’t belong. Waiting for him to get that 50th save, so that Servais had to get that ridiculous haircut was a welcome side adventure.
The problem I’ve had with the Mariners for multiple years now is that they are average. At least in June/July. Sometimes they start hot like last year, sometime they finish strong, but it seams like every year (especially since the additional Wild Card) they are neither in nor out of it when the All-Star Break comes around.
You could take this as consistency, but it’s what has been keeping us from taking that next step. We are routinely in a position where we cannot justify selling off all of our stars as well as not good enough to acquire more. Year after year, over and over.
W-L, Rank & GB on July 31st:
- 2018: 63-44, 2nd, 4 GB
- 2017: 54-53, 2nd, 16 GB
- 2016: 52-51, 3rd, 8.5 GB
- 2015: 47-57, 4th, 11 GB
- 2014: 56-52. 3rd, 10.5 GB
This season, after the above average start, the A’s were catching us and by July 31st we saw our lead on the A’s down to nothing and by August 2nd we fell to 3rd in the division. Like most of the years before we knew we had a chance, but we weren’t willing to gamble the farm to get their.
I’m not saying I wish they traded away all there prospects to acquire Manny Machado to make a run for the playoffs, but just seeing them at the same fork in the road every July and taking the middle route is weighing on me.
That brings us to this off season, much like the mid season, we are in this pit of nothingness. We have to many veterans on bad contracts, not enough prospects, no clear path. When this off season started I said, “Okay, let’s try something! Let’s throw as much money to one, two or three year contracts as we can and sign them all. Kind of like what we did with Cliff Lee a few years back. Sign Nelson Cruz, Donaldson, Wilson Ramos, Matt Harvey, Lance Lynn, etc. And if on July 1st we our not in sole possession of 1st place we trade every last player and ball boy we have to acquire prospects.”
Obviously, Jerry and the gang decided to go ahead with the rebuild now. Shipping off Zunino, Paxton, Cano, Diaz, Colome, Heredia, Gamel, Segura, Nicasio, Pazos and more too come! The thing I don’t get is HOW and WHY they expect to compete in two years? Are these players going to be better than the ones we traded away two years from now?
I would love to see us compete in two years, but not at the cost at only competing in two years and going dormant again right after. My ideal future is the old Atlanta Braves and there 14 straight division championships. Time will tell how this all pans out, I’d be much more optimistic if we ship off Haniger, but at the same time, I understand how we value him higher than the league might.
Final Additional Thoughts:
Lorena Martin situation is a disaster and whatever the outcome I hope it’s handled appropriately and not swept under the rug.
Excited to see Cano gone, I know he’s good, but I didn’t like watching him play ever. He was so good that he looked lazy, not a fan, especially after the PEDs.
I hope the Mariners are improving their farm system development/coaching. Speaking of Dr. Martin, I think she would have been much more useful serving these kids who are trying to put their talents together to make it to the show instead of trying to change the ways the pros got to the pros.
So in the end, I thought this season was just a same old thing as the previous ones, but this off season is finally looking different. For better or worse I’m excited to see something different and I’ll cross my fingers with everyone else that the players the Mariners are acquiring pan out and we don’t swing and miss on too many.