Rolling the dice
It’s been a rough go if you’ve been a fan or employee of the Seattle Mariners lately. Over the last few season now, the team has looked more like a three ring circus than a professional baseball organization. Whether it was the talent or the management, there has always been a source of blame.
Eight of the last ten seasons saw the team finish with a losing record, whether the team spent money on talent or not.
With the team getting desperate and wanting to piggyback on the Seahawks success across the street, they went out this offseason and did something they said they’d do for years now, but haven’t – spend money.
But will the investments be enough? Will they be enough to save the Mariners from the doldrums of the American League? Will they be enough to put fans back into the seats that the Mariners raised the prices for last season?
Let’s take a closer look.
So far this offseason, the Mariners have added 2B Robinson Cano, RP Fernando Rodney, C John Buck, 2B Willie Bloomquist and 1B/OF Corey Hart via Free Agency. Obviously, the Cano deal is the biggest deal on the list. Look at the rest, though.
With the team bouncing around closers post-Tom Wilhelmsen, it seemed like youngsters Stephen Pryor and Carter Capps would get a crack at the starting role. After injuries and poor outings, that seemed unlikely so Danny Farquhar was thrust into the closer role and finished the year there.
The signing of Rodney though, is brilliant.
The addition of John Buck helps the depth at catcher the team lost with Humberto Quintero opting for Free Agency. Buck brings depth and allows the Mariners to focus on continuing to develop Mike Zunino while working in Jesus Sucre when Buck or Zunino are injured or tired.
Hey, even Jesus Montero could find himself behind the plate this season occasionally if he loses his winter weight.
Corey Hart was a move that could go either way. With Justin Smoak not hitting his weight in any month of the season besides September, the Mariners could use someone who can actually swing a bat on first base. And if an outfielder needs a day off, Hart can fill in there, too.
As for Willie Bloomquist, the Mariners continued their nostalgia signings and he will play utility when needed.
The loss of Capps could’ve been painful, but his stint with the Mariners was disappointing after all the hype. The addition of Morrison could be a good thing for a cheap price if he stays healthy.
He’s a younger vet who has spent considerable time on the injured list in Miami.
The player to be named would most likely be a mid-level minor leaguer who may or may not pan out. Who knows who it will be, but don’t hold your breath.
Keeping em Around
Smoak on the other hand managed an arbitration victory and wound up with another contract on Seattle.
My opinion on these players have been well known and I will continue to tell it how I see it. But that is for another day. Let’s just leave it at the fact that these 2 were gambles on the part of Seattle management.
With the conclusion of last season, Eric Wedge announced he would not return amid the disorganization of the Seattle front office. Chuck Armstrong left the team as well. To replace Wedge, the Mariners brought in Lloyd McClendon. To replace Armstrong, the Mariners searched within the organization and hired Kevin Mather.
Don’t forget the rumors, either.
The Mariners have been linked to both OF Nelson Cruz as well as SP Ervin Santana. Whether they pull the trigger on either of these moves, you can’t deny the team went out and tried to put together a contending team.
Each and every move is a gamble in professional sports – bringing in new people and letting others go.
The last ten years have seen a lot of gambles blow up in the face of the franchise (And a few good ones, too.) Let’s hope this time around, they got it right.