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The highs and lows of the 2019 Mariners so far

Mariners pitcher Marco Gonzales has had an uneven 2019. (AP)

It’s been a tough year for Mariners fans with Seattle in the midst of a rebuild, but it hasn’t all been bad. Mike Salk and Jake Heaps spent the 8 a.m. hour on Monday’s Brock and Salk reflecting on some of the highs – and lows – of the 2019 season so far.

You can listen to the full segment here and check out the highlights below:

High: The Mets deal

On December 1, the Mariners sent Robinson Canó and Edwin Díaz to the Mets in exchange for Jay Bruce, Anthony Swarzak and prospects Jarred Kelenic, Justin Dunn and Gerson Bautista. Seattle has since traded Bruce (Philadelphia) and Swarzak (Atlanta), but a promising Kelenic has already been promoted to High-A Modesto.

“The Mets deal looks better and better by the day,” Mike Salk said. “Not only is Jared Kelenic in the futures game, but he also dominated low-A and he’s doing well and improving at High-A. Everything we were told about him so far has been true. Justin Dunn came over in that deal and he’s looked very good. Add in the fact that Robinson Canó has been injured and not very good… and Edwin Díaz does not look very good. All I can say is Jerry Dipoto sold at the exact right time on Díaz and he was able to get out from under the Robinson Canó deal.”

Low: Kyle Seager

The third baseman returned to action in late May after hand surgery sidelined him for the first two months of the season. Since returning, he has posted a .288 OBP and has 29 hits and three home runs, prompting Salk to question how the second-highest paid Mariner became one of the worst hitters on the team.

“Here’s the thing though: he worked his tail off,” Jake Heaps said. “You can see that he made a big change in his body. And the results haven’t come with that. I think that’s been the part that has really been shocking and unfortunate. Obviously he was delayed with the injury that happened early in the season. But he has not since then been the Kyle Seager we were hoping he could be.”

High: C Omar Narvaez and SS J.P. Crawford

A caller suggested that catcher Omar Narváez and short stop J.P. Crawford are two highs this season, though Salk isn’t totally on board.

“It’s interesting,” Salk said. “I put JP Crawford on the ‘highs’ list also. I think he looks like a major league short stop. I’m not sure where to put Omar Narváez right now. An .850 OPI for a catcher is spectacular. He has a batting average right around .300, he hits home runs, and he’s got some pop. The catching isn’t very good. I don’t think it’s as bad as we saw earlier in the year and it’s improved steadily. But it’s not great. I guess I’d put him in the positive category, but I don’t know if I could put him in the best and most encouraging group.” – Mike Salk

Low: OF Mitch Haniger and LHP Marco Gonzales

Haniger has 81 strikeouts and a .220 batting average in 283 plate appearances. Gonzales, who looked primed to be Seattle’s ace coming off a breakout 2018 season, is carrying a 4.24 ERA and struggled throughout May and early June.

“When we talk about players who have been empowered in terms of leadership — who this team is building around — we’re talking about Mitch Haniger and Marco Gonzales,” Heaps said. “In terms of how they’ve been this season, it definitely draws concerns. Before he got injured, Haniger’s batting average wasn’t where you’d want it to be; his strikeout numbers weren’t where you’d want it to be. And Marco, up until this point, has been extremely up and down. There’s been little consistency in his outings and that is a big concern.”

“I don’t know if it’s quite the worst low, but they’re on a list of disappointments,” Salk said. “They are the two guys you elected to build around this offseason. Both had pretty good trade values and (the Mariners) made the decision to hang onto both of them… I don’t know what deals were out there for them, but it’s hard to say right now today that both of their values haven’t dropped.”

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