Go 2 Guy hands out his mid-season Mariners grades
By Jim Moore
We just passed the official halfway point of the season on Sunday and reach the unofficial halfway point at the All-Star break next week.
So it seems like a good time to hand out mid-term grades for the Mariners. Even if it’s not a good time, what the heck, that’s what I’m doing anyway.
I’m not sure if I’m a tough grader or an easy grader – probably a little of both. The team was 34-47 through 81 games, on a pace for a 68-94 season. They need to go 41-41 in the second half of the season to reach the 75 wins I’d predicted they’d have. The chances of that happening – as you know – are very, very slim.
Jack Zduriencik: C. I’m trying to be patient, Jackie Z! But it’s getting tougher and tougher.
Eric Wedge: B. Imagine trying to win at Texas Hold ‘Em with the cards he’s been dealt.
Ichiro: C-minus. He’s clearly a fading star. If he’s still on this roster next year, no one will be shocked, but everyone will know it was the wrong thing to do.
John Jaso: A. My favorite Mariner. The teacher’s pet gets high marks for delivering in the clutch.
Michael Saunders: A. On the brink of being a complete bust, he breaks out with what qualifies as a big half-season on this team. Hey skip, it’s time to make Saunders your leadoff guy.
Kyle Seager: B-plus. He’s fallen off of late but still has 10 home runs and a team-high 46 RBIs.
Casper Wells: B-plus. I like his energy, enthusiasm, defense, arm, bat, post-game interviews, you name it. I want more of it next year in right field.
Jesus Montero: B. I know he had only one RBI in June, but he’s been a better catcher than everyone thought he’d be, and he could still hit 20 homers in his first full big-league season.
Dustin Ackley: C-minus. When you’re drafted No. 2 overall, shouldn’t you be more Mike Trout-like than Ackley’s been?
Justin Smoak: D-plus. It’s hard to give a guy a D-plus when he’s on a pace for 22 homers, but he’s been mostly terrible and largely disappointing.
Brendan Ryan is hitting just .182 but gets a passing grade for his stellar defense. (AP)
Brendan Ryan: C-minus. How can you give a player a passing grade when he’s hitting a buck-eighty-something? Because his defense is so spectacular.
Miguel Olivo: D. I hear he’s a nice guy and I know he’s got a great arm, but I was not a fan of this free-agent signing last year and I’m not a fan of his now. I’m well past ready for a Jaso-Montero platoon behind the plate.
Munenori Kawasaki: B. His batting average is like so many others on this team, but how can you not like his zest for the game. Gimme nine Kawasakis and I’ll take my chances.
Chone Figgins: G. How can I give him a G? It’s one letter worse than F.
Alex Liddi: C-minus. I loved that grand slam that he hit, and he showed potential early on, but what the heck happened to the Italian Stallion?
Mike Carp: Incomplete. A shoulder injury has bothered him all season. At least that’s what I hope has been bothering him, because he’s been really unproductive.
Franklin Gutierrez: Incomplete. Torn pec, plantar fasciitis, concussion. What’s next? You certainly feel for Guti.
Felix Hernandez: B-plus. He had a rotten May, but he bounced back and he’s your ace. When you have an ace, you don’t trade him because they’re so hard to find.
Jason Vargas: C-minus. There’s just no way that he should be your No. 2 pitcher, but Vargas is here. He’s pace to give up 44 home runs this year. Good God.
Kevin Millwood: C. He’s pitched better than I thought he would, but I’d still rather see a youngster in the rotation that this oldster on his last legs.
Hector Noesi: D-plus. He shows flashes but always seems to have an inning or two when he’s downright awful. He’s on pace to lose 20 games. Good God.
Erasmo Ramirez: C or Incomplete. He did all right when called up but is sidelined now with elbow issues.
Blake Beavan: D. He had a spot in the rotation but continual ineffectiveness bought him a ticket to Tacoma.
Lucas Luetge: A. He went a long time before he gave up a run and has been a big surprise in a solid bullpen.
Charlie Furbush: A. He gave up the game-losing homer in Tuesday night’s game but has been mostly phenomenal.
Tom Wilhelmsen: A. A knee-buckling curve to go with 97 mph fastball and there’s talk of trading him? Please.
Shawn Kelley: C. He’s had some shaky moments from time to time but has looked filthy lately.
Brandon League: D. He lost his closer role and seems to have lost his confidence too. Will he ever bounce back?
Steve Delabar: C. Seattle-Tacoma-Seattle. I hope he sticks because I love his story, going from a high-school classroom to a major-league mound.
Hisashi Iwakuma: C. Almost forgot about him. I think Wedge has too.
Oliver Perez: Incomplete. But he looks good so far.
Stephen Pryor: Incomplete. Ditto. A groin injury has temporarily stopped him.
Overall team grade: D-plus. Other than the bullpen, what part of this team is terrific? What part is passable? Aside from Felix, I don’t like the rotation at all. And the hitting has been horrific at Safeco Field, to the point that you wonder about the mental makeup of the players.
Where’s the toughness? Where’s the fire? Where’s the offense?
Mariner fans will be looking for answers in the second half of the season.
You can reach the Go 2 Guy at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo. Jim also writes for his website, www.jimmoorethego2guy.com, and every Monday in the Kitsap Sun. He co-hosts “The Golf Show with Jim Moore and Shon Crewe” on the podcast page of 710Sports.com and “The Kevin Calabro Show,” weekdays 3-6 p.m. on 710 ESPN Seattle.