Passan: Mariners’ flaws ‘getting lesser and lesser as season goes on’
During his weekly visit with The Mike Salk Show on Seattle Sports 710 AM, ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan was asked Wednesday morning how to tell if a team is good, especially as it pertains to the Mariners, who entered the day holding the top wild card spot in the American League.
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“I think it’s easier to figure out what what a great team looks like than what a good team looks like,” Passan told Mike Salk. “I think there are five potentially great teams in Major League Baseball right now, and those are the Dodgers, the Mets, the Braves, the Yankees and the Astros. Everybody else, to me, is on that border line of ‘are they good?’ or ‘are they not?’ because they’re all teams with flaws.”
So where does that leave the Mariners?
“The Mariners’ flaws, to me, are getting lesser and lesser as the season goes on,” Passan said.
“What I see a good team as is a well-rounded team that doesn’t have any demonstrable weaknesses,” he later added. “And if you look at the Mariners right now, I think that their bullpen is pretty strong, I think that their starting rotation with Luis Castillo in it has gotten pretty strong, and I think their lineup, getting some of the guys back who they’ve been missing for so long is not strong, but is strong enough. So yes, I would say that the Seattle Mariners are a good team.”
Passan pointed to the Mariners entering Wednesday as five games above .500 on the road and seven games above .500 in division games as two other reasons to show they’re a good team. Additionally, Seattle overcame some early adversity that Passan finds notable.
“I look at the fact that they got absolutely punched in the face earlier this year and didn’t let it derail them,” he said, referring to Seattle sitting at 10 games under .500 at one point in mid-June. “There are little soft factors that come into determining whether a team is good, and I don’t know – to me, the Mariners check those boxes.”
Passan brought up Castillo, the Mariners’ prized trade deadline addition, when talking about the team’s rotation. Just how good is the 29-year-old right-hander?
“He’s really good. And here’s the thing, you’re getting Luis Castillo at his best right now,” he said. “Which is to say Luis Castillo the last couple years – and I know that the COVID season isn’t necessarily a good one to judge by – but throughout his career, Luis Castillo has not come into spring in the best of shape or with his arm where it needs to be. And sometimes that takes a month, sometimes it takes a little longer than that. But when he gets going, man, it’s nasty.”
Passan noted that Castillo has worked deep into games and carried a heavy workload in his three Mariners starts, which bodes well for the team going forward.
“One thing I appreciate about him, he wants to be out there and he wants the ball,” Passan said. “And the fact that he’s averaged (around) 110 pitches in his three outings for the Mariners to this point, like, that’s a dude you want at the front of your rotation in October.”
Listen to the full second hour of Wednesday’s Mike Salk Show at this link or in the player below.
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