Two months into Mariners season, it’s clear how young they still are

Jun 13, 2022, 1:36 PM | Updated: 2:48 pm
Mariners Julio Rodríguez...
Julio Rodríguez celebrates a win over the Houston Astros on June 8. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

The Mariners went into the 2022 season looking to build off their 90-win campaign a year ago and finally break their postseason drought of two decades. But a little over two months into the season, the M’s haven’t exactly taken off.

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Entering a three-game series with the Minnesota Twins that begins at 7:10 p.m. Monday night on Seattle Sports, the Mariners are 27-33, 10 games behind the American League West-leading Houston Astros (37-23).

On Monday morning, Mariners insider Shannon Drayer of Seattle Sports joined The Mike Salk Show and shared some insight into why expectations and reality have differed for the M’s thus far.

“Take out the factor that they have lost significant hitters in this lineup – one of the things that kind of got away from me, one of the things that I think I was kind of wrong on with this team early on… is that they were still quite young at the beginning of this year,” Drayer said, “and that there were still a lot of players on this team that were new to this team. I think this team did indeed need a little bit of an adjustment period.”

The Mariners are definitely relying on a lot of young players this season, including rookies Julio Rodríguez and George Kirby, second-year players Cal Raleigh, Taylor Trammell and Logan Gilbert, and a trio of players that have MLB experience but are still 26 or younger in Luis Torrens, Abraham Toro and Andrés Muñoz. And that’s not even counting players that made the MLB roster out of spring training but are now in Triple-A (Jarred Kelenic, Matt Brash) or Kyle Lewis, the 2020 AL Rookie of the Year who has played just four games this season due to injury and has just 116 games of MLB experience dating back to 2019.

“I still look at this team as a young team,” Drayer said. “I think they’re the second youngest team in baseball right now, so I think that you are going to kind of have those ups and downs.”

And that’s not to gloss over some of the ups the Mariners are experiencing along with the downs.

“I think that when they do everything right and when they play good baseball, they are a tough team out there,” Drayer said. “One of the things that really encourages me, as we’ve seen this start to finish, everywhere we go we hear from others on the other side, or we hear from other people around baseball, or the national perspective, this is a good team right here. I just think a lot of it is they are still putting things together, they are still young, they are still growing.”

Because of that, Drayer isn’t ready to write off the potential of the Mariners competing for the playoffs this season, especially since with three wild cards now, Seattle currently is just 4 1/2 games out of a postseason spot.

“That doesn’t mean that it should take the full season. That doesn’t mean that they can’t compete,” Drayer continued. “But I think that it’s not as upward (a trajectory for the Mariners) as you thought it was going to be from the get-go.”

You can hear the full segment with Drayer and Mike Salk, including a discussion of how what the Mariners did and did not accomplish this offseason fits into the conversation, in the podcast at this link or in the player below.

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