Groz: Why this is the most important Mariners season of the last decade

Mar 30, 2021, 12:18 AM
Mariners J.P. Crawford Kyle Lewis...
The Mariners' J.P. Crawford and Kyle Lewis are both coming off winning awards in 2020. (Getty)

Welcome to the most important Mariners season in at least a decade.

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With the damage done by the brutal statements of former team president and CEO Kevin Mather – especially with the fans – the Mariners are still faced with the specter of having their postseason drought, already the longest in any major American sport going into this season, reach 20 straight seasons.

I for one felt it was important that the Mariners looked to contend this year, that they make some moves in free agency to be ready when their young core moves up. And despite Mather’s comments, owner John Stanton stuck to his guns and support of general manager Jerry Dipoto.

The Mariners did not make any significant offseason moves (save a one-year deal with James Paxton), and no one is picking them to make the postseason. Even if you like the young talent the M’s have put together, they are really rolling the dice. The injury suffered late in spring training by center fielder and 2020 American League Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis is a reminder that the team has little depth, and if two or three of their top players get hurt it’s likely to be a disappointing season even with expectations tamped down.

If their young players show promise and they don’t win, you can only count on a group of fans – let’s call them the die-hards – seeing that progress is being made. The problem is that group makes up about 25% of the fan base at best. If the Mariners are 15 games out in July, it’s going to be all Seahawks and Kraken buzz in town, and the Mariners will become what they’ve been far too often the last 20 years – an afterthought.

Here’s hoping they contend into May, the front office makes some moves, and it becomes a magical baseball summer. A guy can hope, can’t he?

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Groz: Why this is the most important Mariners season of the last decade