MLB Network’s Amsinger: Mariners ‘politely losing’ is a bad look

Jun 27, 2023, 12:06 PM

Seattle Mariners Julio Rodriguez...

Julio Rodriguez of the Seattle Mariners looks on from third base on June 21, 2023. (Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)

(Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)

Expectations for the Seattle Mariners were very high entering the 2023 season, with many baseball analysts pegging them once again as a playoff team. That includes MLB Network host Greg Amsinger.

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That obviously hasn’t been the case so far, as the Mariners are a game under .500 with the midway point of the season just a few games away.

On Monday, Amsinger joined Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob and shared his observations of how things have gone for the Mariners in 2023.

“I expected the Cleveland Guardians to play exactly the way that the Cleveland Guardians are playing. I did not expect the Seattle Mariners to play exactly the way that the Cleveland Guardians are playing,” Amsinger said.

Cleveland, the 2022 American League Central champs, are three games under .500 entering Tuesday.

“That is what is so eye-popping in Seattle right now,” Amsinger continued. “To look at the batting averages every single day is is nauseating. I can’t believe this team, which I believed going into the year had so many outstanding high-end offensive players, would be so below-average.”

The Mariners are certainly lacking in the hitting department overall this season, ranking near the bottom of baseball in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Seattle is also lacking fight, Amsinger said, and he pointed to one play in particular to showcase that.

Julio Rodríguez, who has not been as good this season as he was as a rookie last year, hit a ball deep to right-center field in Baltimore on Sunday, but Orioles outfielder Anthony Santander leapt at the wall to make a catch that robbed Rodríguez of a home run. Afterwards, Rodríguez was seen laughing and smiling about the play, and playfully yelling at Santander from the Mariners’ dugout.

“This is a team that right now with the way they’re playing, you’d want all of them to date your sister,” Amsinger said. “I need a couple bad boys to fight. I need a brawl. I need something. They’re just politely losing, and it’s kind of making me upset.”

How Seattle Mariners can shake things up offensively

The Mariners continuing to hover around .500 is largely because of poor play from the offense, and aside from a few outlier breakout games, the team’s overall approach at the plate hasn’t been working.

Amsinger thinks the Mariners should consider doing a few things to shake things up and potentially kickstart the offense for the long haul.

“They need to play baseball where you bunt a guy to third base and you manufacture a run,” he said. “I’m so sick of watching Kolten Wong trying to hit home runs. It’s driving me crazy. Like what are we doing?”

Amsinger pointed to the Tampa Bay Rays – MLB’s best team so far this year – as a team that is taking advantage of MLB’s new rules by stealing a lot of bases. Tampa is first in stolen bases while the M’s are 18th.

“The Mariners have that ability – they’ve got so many athletes on the field – but they’re a stagnant base-to-base team waiting for a home run,” Amsinger said. ” … Julio Rodríguez, I know this sounds crazy, but let’s see him bunt for a hit and steal second and maybe you get a wild pitch that scores a run and you take the lead. But for some reason, the swing and miss is so massive. There are no two-strike approaches.”

Years back, Amsinger said, MLB managers had more power to shake things up by altering the lineup in a major way. He said that’s not the case anymore due to how analytics are used by team front offices.

“If (manager) Scott Servais has the power to do it, I would shuffle this lineup up dramatically,” Amsinger said. “… Like (maybe) put Cal Raleigh in the leadoff spot and let’s go get them. (Try) something different to try to make people recognize that what’s happening right now is not good enough.”

Listen to Wyman and Bob’s full discussion with Amsinger at this link or in the player near the top of this story. 

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MLB Network’s Amsinger: Mariners ‘politely losing’ is a bad look