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What stands out about Mariners to MLB Network’s Greg Amsinger

Left-hander Marco Gonzales is 4-0 in five starts for the Mariners this season. (Getty)

While the Mariners are trying to get back on track after being swept by the Houston Astros over the weekend and losing Game 1 to Cleveland on Monday, they still have the most wins in the MLB and have shown some surprising promise in the early going of the 2019 season.

M’s gave themselves a chance, but Astros’ pitching proves to be too much

Greg Amsinger of the MLB Network recently joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Bob, Groz and Tom to discuss what has stood out to him after watching the Mariners during their strong start to the campaign. Here’s a look at some of what he covered.

Mariners can be good while they’re getting better

The prevailing idea about the 2019 season was that the Mariners were entering a rebuild, therefore wins might be hard to come by. But after the M’s won 13 of their first 15 games, Seattle is reminding Amsinger of a team that was able to stay in contention while playing the role of ‘seller’ at the trade deadline.

“The Mariners could be what the Yankees were a few years back,” Amsinger said. “The Yankees were trading away their bullpen arms when they were still in the mix for a wild card berth and everyone was like, ‘What is going on?’ They were sellers, then they kept winning and were in the mix all the way to the end.”

Amsinger could see general manager Jerry Dipoto trading off veterans that bring back players that could still help the Mariners now but have more of an impact in future years.

“Jerry Dipoto’s not gonna lose sight of what the big vision is here. I wouldn’t be shocked if Jay Bruce is traded. I wouldn’t be shocked if Dee Gordon is traded. But they’ll still be a competitive team,” Amsinger said. “He’s gotta tow that tightrope because you can’t just bail on the plan and lose the vision for the next three years, because that is what this team wants to do. They want to be the Houston Astros. If you’re going to be the Houston Astros, then you gotta develop young talent, you gotta give them an opportunity to play. Don’t logjam a guy like Daniel Vogelbach. He’s gotta hit more. He’s gotta play more. I don’t care if a lefty’s on the mound.

“… There’s going to be a weave that goes on there in that front office to be competitive and to continue to look into the future, and it’s going to be fun to watch.”

‘Upside almost everywhere’

Something that really impresses Amsinger is the Mariners are getting contributions from players just starting to enter their prime.

“What I like about the depth chart, there’s upside almost everywhere. We haven’t seen the best baseball from Mitch Haniger yet. Mallex Smith is finally an everyday guy and I love watching him play. We’ve never seen Domingo Santana be really anything but a platoon guy and now he’s an everyday guy, and he’s one of the best run-producers in the game. Tim Beckham, I feel like we still haven’t seen the best of Tim Beckham.”

Seattle’s No. 1

In line with the thought that there is upside everywhere is what Marco Gonzales is doing. While the 27-year-old left-hander took his first no-decision of the season Sunday against the Astros, he is 4-0 with a 3.19 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in five starts.

“Pitch-ability (is) off the charts, one of the nicest kids you’re ever going to meet, smart, studies the game, works well with his battery-mate, looks at the defense, knows where to pitch based on his his infielders,” Amsinger said of Gonzales. “He’s not going to strike everyone out, but man, he’s steady Eddie. You need a guy like that that’s going to come out and give you a quality start.

“The Mariners’ starting pitching has just really surprised me. To me it’s one of the bigger stories, along with the team’s success, the fact that Marco Gonzales is the No. 1 pitcher in this rotation and he’s 4-0 and every time he gets the ball, his body language. … It’s gonna be fun to see what kind of year he puts together. He could be the next Jimmy Key. That could be the kind of pitcher he is.”

You can hear the full interview with Amsinger in the embedded player in this story or download a podcast at this link.

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