Fann: Much for Mariners to prove before they can buy at trade deadline
Jun 5, 2023, 12:16 PM | Updated: 12:23 pm
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
The Seattle Mariners have been outscored 50-16 over their last six games against the Yankees and Rangers while going 1-5 in that stretch. Most of those contests were completely unwatchable as the Mariners were provided with relentless reminders of where they stand within baseball’s hierarchy.
Seattle is currently 29-30 and 9 1/2 games back of the first-place Rangers following the unsightly sweep in Arlington over the weekend. The wild card picture is less grim, but only slightly, as the Mariners are six games out of a playoff spot with six teams in front of them.
So where does Seattle go from here? Well for starters, salvaging the remainder of the road trip with five games left against the Padres (two) and Angels (three) would be a great start, but nothing about this team signals a turnaround is imminent.
And yet there isn’t much else roster-wise that can be done. Let me rephrase: there isn’t much that should be done, at least not in the way of a desperation trade to add a bat. Bringing in outside reinforcements would be irrelevant at this point until the current roster makes significant strides, especially when considering the cost of minor league pieces.
The blame is near-comprehensive at this point. President of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto and the front office, whether due to a lack of funds from ownership or decisions of their own free will, failed to do enough during the offseason. Teoscar Hernández (more on him in a moment) was the lone notable addition to the lineup. Kolten Wong, AJ Pollock and Tommy La Stella were all past-their-prime veteran flyers with limited upside.
It was a budgeted and half-measured offseason haul that banked heavily on development from the core already on the roster. But it’s not all on Dipoto and Co., of course, because that core has completely underachieved this season.
Hernández has yielded a measly 0.3 fWAR while leading MLB in strikeouts. Eugenio Suárez has just six homers and is on pace for 16 after hitting 31 in each of the last two seasons. He’s also hitting just .211.
Jarred Kelenic has cooled considerably from his hot start, hitting just .239 with a 96 wRC+ since May 1 while ranking sixth in the league in strikeouts for the season. Cal Raleigh is striking out less and hitting for a better average than he did in 2022, but he’s yet to go on a home run barrage, hitting just eight thus far. Julio Rodríguez has been satisfactory and leads the team in fWAR at 1.6, but he’s been nowhere near the team-carrying MVP hopeful that we anticipated.
And with the pitching having regressed of late, with Bryce Miller roughed up in two consecutive starts and Marco Gonzales now on the injured list, the lack of consistent pop and run production from the lineup has become even more glaring.
This roster isn’t currently one bat – or maybe even two bats – away from contention. Seattle’s 10-20 record against teams above .500 illustrates that reality quite succinctly. Of course there’s still time, 103 games to be exact, but the situation will get more dire with each additional series lost to the point where replicating last season’s 14-game winning streak would become a requirement for postseason contention.
There’s not much Dipoto can do at this point other than sit back and watch it all unfold. A trade of any notoriety would be ill-advised, and no prospects should be moved out of desperation. This is the bed the Mariners made. Now they must lay in it.