ESPN’s Jeff Passan on Mariners: Too much can go right to dwell on what’s gone wrong

May 26, 2022, 10:27 AM
Mariners Kyle Lewis, Julio Rodriguez...
Julio Rodriguez celebrates a home run with Kyle Lewis vs the Athletics on May 24, 2022. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The start of the 2022 season hasn’t gone to plan for the Mariners.

Rost: Looking at the Mariners at the quarter mark of 2022 season

After a 90-win campaign a year ago, the Mariners find themselves 18-27 and sitting in last place in the American League West after an alarming series loss to the Oakland Athletics.

ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan has said repeatedly over the last few months that he’s bullish on the direction of the franchise, but has the team’s recent struggles done anything to diminish that optimism? He joined Seattle Sports 710 AM’s Mike Salk Show Wednesday and discussed with guest hosts Mike Lefko and Michael Bumpus.

“I am standing steadfast in my belief that the Seattle Mariners are not as terrible a team as we see them right now,” Passan said. “And I’m not doubling down, I’m not tripling down. All I’m saying is that this is a very bad version of this team right now, and I still do not believe that they are a bad team.”

Passan said the return of 2020 American League Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis is a big boost and that the team has played better defense overall than he anticipated.

The bullpen, however, “has been a problem” after being a strength of the team last year, Passan said.

“I will acknowledge that. Maybe I was believing a little too much in the early results in the bullpen,” he said. “A bullpen that doesn’t necessarily have a veteran presence there (with) established guys who have had multiple years of success, which really is the true sign of a good deep bullpen.”

Passan thinks Seattle’s lineup, which doesn’t contain many “world beaters,” has enough good hitters to be productive, especially given the development and recent play of rookie outfielder Julio Rodríguez.

“Ultimately, it’s going to come down, I think, starting pitching,” Passan said. “Can Logan Gilbert keep it up? Can George Kirby be the George Kirby who’s striking out guys and not giving up hits in addition to not giving up walks? Can you get Chris Flexen from 2021 back? Is Marco Gonzales going to be the mid-rotation-type guy, or is he going to be the back-end sort?”

Passan believes the Mariners still have “a lot of areas” for improvement, but he’s still not ready to wave the white flag when looking at the direction of the franchise, or even the 2022 season.

“I’m really not trying to hold onto something that I know is a lost cause here, I’m just not trying to abandon something when things are bad,” he said. “Because I don’t think this is a team that’s worth abandoning at this point – not at this point in the season. Yeah, maybe we have this conversation later in June or in July. But right now, there’s just too much that can go right, I think, to dwell on the many things that have gone wrong.”

Listen to the full conversation at this link or in the player below.

Salk: Julio Rodríguez is ‘the truth’ the M’s haven’t had in a long time

Date Starting Pitcher
Tuesday, July 5 @ 1:10 pm

Mariners Roof Report

Brought to you by
Chance Rain Showers
High 73° | Low 57°
Roof is open
Blue Jays at Mariners today at 7:10pm

Mike Salk

Bump & Stacy Show

Seattle Mariners

Mariners Logan Gilbert...
The Associated Press

Logan Gilbert wins 10th, surging Mariners sweep sliding Padres

Logan Gilbert earned his 10th win to tie for the major league lead, Sam Haggerty hit his first home run in over two months and the Mariners beat the Padres 6-2 on Tuesday.
20 hours ago
Mariners Carlos Santana Eugenio Suárez...
Brent Stecker

Mariners’ Scott Servais: 3 keys to Seattle’s 5 straight series wins

The Mariners wrapped up their fifth straight series win on Tuesday. We got an inside perspective on Seattle's big run from the manager.
20 hours ago
Mariners Julio Rodríguez...
Brent Stecker

More honors for Julio Rodríguez: Mariners rookie is AL Player of the Week

Mariners phenom Julio Rodríguez is adding more than just rookie awards to his mantle now, taking home AL Player of the Week.
20 hours ago
Brent Stecker

Mariners Trade Deadline: What it will take for M’s to be buyers

Longtime MLB reporter Jayson Stark of The Athletic joined Seattle Sports to provide his look at how the Mariners may approach the trade deadline.
20 hours ago
Mariners Julio Rodriguez...
Brandon Gustafson

Mariners Phenoms: How Julio Rodríguez compares to Ken Griffey Jr.

Just how good has Julio Rodríguez been halfway through his rookie season with the Mariners? Good enough to compare with a Hall of Famer.
20 hours ago
Mariners Julio Rodriguez...
The Associated Press

Rodríguez’s HR, Raleigh’s 4 RBIs carry Mariners past Padres 8-2

Julio Rodríguez hit a 2-run homer, Cal Raleigh drove in four runs and Chris Flexen pitched the Seattle Mariners past the San Diego Padres 8-2.
2 days ago
ESPN’s Jeff Passan on Mariners: Too much can go right to dwell on what’s gone wrong