‘Bullish’ on Mariners, ESPN’s Passan says M’s now seeing fruits of labor

Apr 20, 2022, 11:40 AM | Updated: 1:45 pm
J.P. Crawford and Julio Rodriguez of the Seattle Mariners celebrate after the 6-2 win against the Texas Rangers at T-Mobile Park. (Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
(Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

The Mariners took the first of a three-game set over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night, entering Wednesday at 6-5 and in a good position to keep climbing over the .500 mark.

Robbie Ray backed by three homers as Mariners beat Rangers 6-2

After the series against the 2-8 Rangers, the Mariners host the 4-5 Kansas City Royals, who don’t figure to be much of a factor in the American League playoff race this season. The Mariners, however, are coming off a 90-win 2021 campaign and figure to not only be in contention for a playoff spot but the American League West title come the end of 2022.

Someone who is admittedly very high on Seattle’s team not just this year but for the future is ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan, who joined Seattle Sports 710 AM’s Mike Salk Show Wednesday morning to talk all things Mariners.

If you’ve listened to Passan talk to Mike Salk and Brock Huard over the last few years, you know he was often described as “the wet blanket” of Mariners analysis by the Brock and Salk crew. Well, consider that a thing of the past.

“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” Passan started off his conversation Wednesday with Salk, “because I think my introduction to your Seattle audience was probably through the ‘wet blanket era,’ if we want to call it that. I feel like we have now entered into an entirely different time where I’m not going to call myself like the greatest aggressor of Seattle Mariners propaganda right now, but I would say I might be like 95th percentile bullish at this point, just generally speaking (with) the direction of the franchise.”

So why is Passan so bullish on the Mariners for the next few years?

“I mean, I could go piece by piece, but the fact that they have gone and promoted Logan Gilbert, Matt Brash, Julio Rodríguez, Jarred Kelenic and still have a loaded minor league system is a really good sign,” Passan said.

Mariners general manager and president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto has typically referred to the goal of the farm system producing “waves” of talent, where multiple young players would come up and join the MLB roster and help build out the team over time. Passan explained that by having a farm system that continually is adding young players one after another, teams are able to build the core of their roster.

“You get a couple guys one year, you get a couple guys the next year, you get a couple guys a year after that, and that constitutes your core over a five- or six-year period,” he said. “And then it’s just a matter of when your draft picks go down and you’re picking more toward the back of the first round than the front – are you going to be able to hit at the same rate and develop at the same rate?”

On top of the draft, teams build their farm systems by adding international free agents, which is something Passan says the Mariners are doing a great job with.

“(What) the Mariners have done internationally is just wonderful,” he said. “I mean, not just Julio Rodríguez but Noelvi Marte, who’s probably going to be here within the next year or two.”

Passan had quite the praise for the Mariners, the direction of the franchise and how the organization’s philosophy is starting to pay off.

“They have turned into a very well-run organization, and I think we’re seeing the fruits of that labor on the field now much more than we have in past years,” he said.

Listen to the full conversation between Passan and Salk at this link or in the player below.

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‘Bullish’ on Mariners, ESPN’s Passan says M’s now seeing fruits of labor