Stelton: ‘No excuses’ for Mariners with playoff expectations in ’22

Feb 27, 2022, 12:39 PM

Mariners Scott Servais J.P. Crawford...

Mariners SS J.P. Crawford is congratulated by manager Scott Servais after scoring a run at Oakland on Sept. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

No matter when the MLB lockout ends and the next baseball season begins, one thing is clear about the Seattle Mariners to 710 ESPN Seattle’s Bob Stelton.

“I’ve said the slogan for this year should be no excuses,” Stelton said on Thursday’s edition of Wyman and Bob.

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What Stelton was referring to is the Mariners putting their best foot forward to end their 20-year postseason drought, specifically in regards to finishing off an offseason that got off to a strong start before the lockout started in December.

The Mariners have already signed reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray and acquired 2021 All-Star Adam Frazier, but the roster is far from complete. There’s a need for depth in the starting rotation and the lineup still needs a bat or two. Kyle Seager’s departure also leaves a hole at third base that has yet to be filled.

Seattle has reportedly shown interest in All-Star sluggers Kris Bryant and Trevor Story, who are still free agents, and we recently covered the possible fit of former National League MVP Freddie Freeman on the roster, though to this point he has not been reported as a Mariners target.

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While the M’s have a young core coming off a 90-win season in 2021 and Baseball America’s top-ranked farm system, Stelton wants to make sure the pressure is kept on Seattle to put its money where its mouth is and build a team that can challenge the Houston Astros in the AL West this year. To him, that starts first with adding a couple of marquee bats that can boost an offense that scored 51 runs less than the M’s allowed last year.

“It’s time to spend the money, it’s time to add to the youth that you’ve got and capitalize on what you did last year. This is not the time for bargain shopping,” Stelton told Robert Turbin, who was filling in as a guest host for Dave Wyman. “You’ve got to get in to the postseason. … If everybody’s healthy, there is zero excuse not to find your way into the postseason, in my opinion. And it starts with the ownership, and it starts with opening up the purse strings and saying, ‘Yeah, we’re not going to go shop for the guy who’s at the end of his career and maybe has a year left. We’re (not) going to try to wring that sponge dry and maybe he’ll be great. We’re getting them at a good price.’ You want to fill in your roster with those guys, but that can’t be your your major addition that you’re counting on.”

In addition to the fans, Stelton said the team owes it to veteran players that have been with the Mariners through their rebuild to give it their best shot in 2022.

“I think you owe it to the guys that are on the roster currently that are going to be there moving forward, whether it’s Marco Gonzales, whether it’s Mitch Haniger,” he said. “You owe it to those guys to surround them with the talent that’s going to get them to the next level. You can’t win 90 games last year and say, ‘Well, that was fun, but… we’ll compete in two years.’ You can’t keep kicking the can down the road. This is the time. The time is now.

“And it doesn’t mean it all happens this year and I expect a World Series – no. That’d be awesome; I don’t expect it. I expect that you are going to do everything within your power as an ownership group to put the pieces in place that’s going to get you into the postseason, then you see what happens and you’re going to get a really good clear picture of how far away you are. Like, if you get through the first round, whatever stops you – ‘OK, we need more offense, we need better pitching, we need a better bullpen’ – whatever it is. But you’ve got to take that next step.”

You can hear the full conversation between Stelton and Turbin in the podcast at this link or in the player below.

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