Wassell’s Thoughts: Seahawks have increased their window for success
Welcome to another edition of Tom Wassell’s Thoughts, a regular column from the co-host of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Tom, Jake and Stacy. This week, Tom explains how his opinion on the Seahawks’ latest trade has evolved, what is on his mind about the Mariners, and the lesson learned from last weekend’s news that briefly had WSU’s Nick Rolovich on the hot seat.
Seahawks’ window for success has increased
This is a tough thought for me to write about given that I initially did not support the trade for Jamal Adams. I thought it was way too dangerous to give up two first-round picks over the next few years. Winning is never guaranteed and the value of those picks may end up increasing depending on where the Seahawks finish. I’m done complaining about that now, though – onward we go.
Let’s assume that Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf, Jamal Adams, Shaquill Griffin, Quandre Diggs and Jarran Reed are all here for the next four years. There are other, unproven guys like Will Dissly as well, but the aforementioned make up a nice nucleus going forward. I no longer believe that 2020 is a Super Bowl or bust scenario. The Seahawks haven’t yet signed Jamal Adams to the type of deal that would allow him to retire here (as he stated he wishes to), but if they do and they can get through the next two years with winning records, the window for success is still fairly wide.
Sure, there’s some money on the books and not every single player will remain here, but most of them should stick around. With any luck, some of the young players will blossom into what they’re expected to become and they’ll finally complete the rebuild that began in 2018. It seems like things have been at a standstill with early playoff exits the last few seasons, but injuries could be largely responsible for that.
Any year that Russell Wilson is healthy should be a year where the Seahawks are thinking they’re strong enough to get to and win the Super Bowl, but now that they have a special player like Adams on defense (again, hopefully for a long while), we don’t have to worry that everything is going to fall apart after this season. As afraid of this trade as I was, it could end up being the smartest thing they’ve done in years.
Same ol’ Mariners?
Well, they’re 5-8 to begin the year. That sure feels familiar. Starters are making early exits with regularity and there are four guys in the everyday lineup hitting under .130. The bullpen isn’t exactly bailing them out late in games either when they do get a decent pitching performance. But where is this headed?
Well, everyone’s young. That’s the difference. From 2014-2018, this was a team that brought in veteran players, many of whom were washed up, in order to give the team an outside shot at the second wild card spot. Most of the time, they weren’t fooling anyone into thinking that they were going to make an honest charge, although on occasion they at least forced us to pay attention. Now, it can only get better. I repeat: It can only get better.
Kyle Lewis is quickly becoming a feared hitter in the American League. Marco Gonzales, already fairly reliable, looks even more determined. Taijuan Walker, now healthy and a little more mature, still has the same stuff he had when he was touted as the next Dwight Gooden. J.P. Crawford finally looks ready to become the major leaguer he’s not been for the past few years. Shed Long and Kyle Seager are hitting the ball hard. Justin Dunn and Justus Sheffield are brand new at this, still getting familiar with being big league pitchers, but show poise and the kind of stuff that makes you confident that experience will reward them with success. Oh, and Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodríguez are on the way.
Are they making the playoffs? No. Well… probably not. The bullpen will probably end up spoiling any great performances too often for them to register a decent win total. Still, I’m far from disgusted watching this team. I feel compelled to watch every game in order to chart the progress of the players named above. And it’s been fun!
Every team has an energy. Even bad teams have at least a bad vibe to them. This one is alive and well. The organization seems to have individual players focused on the right things so as to streamline their growth into next year. I don’t know how fans of other teams (like the Astros) tolerated the early to middle stages of their rebuilds, but I’m having a ball!
Jumping to conclusions
Given the weaponized nature of modern communication, it’s very easy to understand how a simple misunderstanding can manifest as a fireable offense, but we – yes, we – need to be better.
Last weekend when the news about Washington State wide receiver Kassidy Woods decision to opt out of the season broke, it immediately cast new Cougars head coach Nick Rolovich in a negative light. Initial reports and Twitter headlines implied that because Woods was thinking about joining other Pac-12 players in the #WeAreUnited movement, Rolovich had kicked him off the team (or asked him to clean out his locker). Woods had ill-advisedly recorded a phone conversation between himself and Rolovich, and the transcript was vague enough to be misinterpreted.
In fact, Rolovich did not dismiss Woods for joining the movement. He was just cautioning his player against the consequences of a boycott, which could cost him his scholarship. If the player were to opt out because of medical concerns related to COVID-19, that would be perfectly acceptable.
The problem is that in telling his player what might happen if he joined #WeAreUnited, some mistook Rolovich for being anti-athlete, anti-health and anti-justice (three of the tenets of the movement). He was blasted as an old-school, perhaps even bigoted tyrant who had no respect for a student-athlete’s ability to stand up for himself. This simply was never the case.
Going back to Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar, NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, and now Rolovich, I hope we’re all learning a lesson about the need for complete information before we reach conclusions and go public with them. Believe it or not, even something a single fan says on a public forum can have influence if enough people read it. Once we get an idea about something or someone in our heads, it can be difficult to let go of that. If all I did was read the first headlines about that story and nothing else, I’d have an idea of Rolovich that is wrong and unfair.
As hard as it seems, don’t react until the facts are in. It’s dangerous, destructive and frankly immature to behave any other way. I’m not speaking from my high-horse. I’ve been guilty of getting out in front of stories with my opinions too. I’ve learned over time not to do so, and these stories can serve as opportunities to learn what not to do. It’s a dangerous world, people. Let’s try to make it a little less treacherous.