The Mariners were buyers at the trade deadline, the games still have meaning in August, and the buzz at Safeco Field is building.
It’s an entirely different experience for third baseman Kyle Seager than what he went through in his first two seasons with the team, when Seattle never really was part of a playoff race.
“It’s fun just being in the situation where you can pay attention (to the playoff contenders),” Seager said in an interview with 710 ESPN Seattle’s “Bob and Groz” on Thursday. “Just being in the hunt, being in consideration, you know all the teams ahead of you. … It’s a really good situation to be in.”
The Mariners put some effort into bettering that situation before the trade deadline, bringing in Kendrys Morales, Austin Jackson and Chris Denorfia to boost an offense that has struggled throughout most of the year. The acquisitions have certainly been appreciated by Seager, who has shouldered a big part of the load offensively in 2014 – he has a .278/.346/.475 slash line with 16 home runs and a team-high 68 RBIs.
“We got the three hitters in here – that’s definitely a big thing for us,” he said. “Kendrys obviously was with us last year so he was a very easy transition. Everybody knew him and everybody loves Kendrys. And then you brought the other two guys in, (and) it’s been awesome. They both jumped right in and are playing well. Real good guys, real easy-going in the clubhouse. It’s nice being in the position where you can be buyers as opposed to selling off.”
With the revamped offense and an already stellar pitching rotation and bullpen, the Mariners are poised to make a move this weekend in their four-game set against White Sox, as they trail the Blue Jays by just one game for the final American League wild-card spot.
The fact that the Mariners are in as good a position as they are might seem like a surprise, but first-year Mariners skipper Lloyd McClendon would think otherwise, according to Seager.
“I think it starts with Mac, for sure. Starts up at the top. He’s brought this attitude in since Day 1,” Seager said. “It’s not about, ‘Well, we’re a young team, we’ll get there eventually.’ He’s ready to win, he wants to win, and that’s definitely carried over. There’s definitely a different level of confidence.”
It’s also carried over into the amount of enthusiasm among the team and in the stands.
“There’s a different energy in the ballpark. The fans have been awesome. The excitement level in the dugout, the excitement level in the clubhouse, everything just is different,” Seager said. “We’ve got a couple new guys in here. … We have a lot of confidence in what we can do from top to bottom. And we know (with) the way our pitching is, that offensively (if) we score a few runs we’ll be in a good situation.”