The State of the Seattle Mariners
Salary dumps, budget concerns, press conferences, and confusing trades. Let's take a look at where the Mariners stand on December 4th, 2023.
For anybody who has been reading/listening to my work for a long time, you know I tend to look at things from an eternally positive lens. The last few months of Mariners news has tested the patience of even the most optimistic supporters.
Let’s start with the press conference put on by Jerry Dipoto and the Seattle front office at the end of the season. The message to fans was tone-deaf, insulting, and deflating. Yes, the organization had taken steps forward, but winning still felt like a hope, not a priority.
The offseason so far has been anything but inspiring. In the months following comments from team leaders such as Cal Raleigh and J.P. Crawford about the disappointment in the commitment of ownership and management, Seattle has taken exactly zero steps forward in this regard.
The players want to see the commitment to building a team that can win a championship. So far this offseason we haven’t seen it.
Team leader Eugenio Suárez was traded in a salary dump deal that netted them an upside arm and a backup catcher. This deal also prevented Seattle from a reunion with Tom Murphy, another leader in the clubhouse. Last night the Mariners shocked the baseball world with yet another salary dump, trading Jarred Kelenic, Evan White, and Marco Gonzales to Atlanta for two upside arms that may or may not help them moving forward.
These moves were made with the term “payroll flexibility” as the chief reason. This has become all too familiar for Mariners fans over the years.
Seattle is said to be concerned with the status of their ownership in Root Sports Northwest, and the issues with regional sports networks around the game of baseball. This worry has given the Mariners a budget once again, an issue over the tenure of Jerry Dipoto in Seattle.
Dipoto has been forced to make business decisions in a role that should consist of strictly baseball decisions. Even the national media that has generally forgotten about Seattle has noticed their ineptitude.
With all of that being said, it can sometimes become easy to forget about the positives.
The Mariners have an elite farm system and one of the most loaded pitching rotations in all of major league baseball, two sets of ammunition primed to make this team better.
Perhaps the most forgotten positive? Seattle has an All-Star caliber player at catcher, shortstop, and centerfield. Championship-level teams need to be solid up the middle, and the Mariners have accomplished this.
They have subtracted from this roster this offseason, especially on the offensive side. Seattle can’t afford to miss anymore. Their margin for error has shriveled dramatically, and the immediate future of the franchise will rest on the decisions made to upgrade this offense over the next few weeks.
Trust in the organization is at an all-time low, and rightfully so. Hopes of Shohei Ohtani or Juan Soto have dried up, allowing fans to scrap for shreds of hope that impact moves will be made.
I can’t say for sure whether the fan base will like the moves that are made, but the Mariners have a plan. By this point they know their deficiencies and their limitations, but can they thread the needle?
Only time will tell.