How first-place Mariners are showing ‘level of urgency’

Jun 10, 2024, 10:07 AM

Seattle Mariners...

Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais, chairman John Stanton and president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto before a 2023 game. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The first-place Seattle Mariners are off to the type of start that’s rarely been achieved in the franchise’s 47 years of existence.

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How rare is it for the Mariners to be leading their division at this time of the year? The club entered June 1 in first place for the first time since the 2003 season.

Baseball Bar-B-Cast host and Yahoo Sports MLB writer Jordan Shusterman joined Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy for a conversation about the M’s last week, and he explained why it’s evident the organization is grasping the magnitude of the situation.

“What does seem to be the case – and we’re waiting to see what that move actually looks like whether it is for Servais on a day-to-day managerial basis, whether that is for the front office and making a move – is they are identifying that this is an opportunity not just because of the rotation, but because of how much the teams below them are struggling,” Shusterman said. “This is a chance to build on this shocking five-game lead that you have despite having one of the most disappointing – not just disappointing – just unproductive offenses in the entire league.”

A division up for grabs

The Mariners had the eighth-best record in MLB in the three-season span from 2021-23, but the club has just one playoff appearance to show for it. One of the biggest culprits is that there’s always been a team in the American League West in front of Seattle.

The M’s won 90 games in 2021 but fell five games short of the division champion Houston Astros and two games shy of a wild card berth. After 90 wins broke the franchise’s 21-year playoff drought in 2022, Seattle won 88 games last season but finished third in the division and one game off a wild card spot. Each of those seasons featured a slow start by the Mariners.

“In recent seasons they have been winning a good amount, but they’ve been chasing teams,” Shusterman said. “They’ve been trying to keep up with some of their competition. This is an opportunity to get ahead, to stay ahead, to win the division, and I think all of the rhetoric we’ve seen around the team right now from the front office on down is that willingness to go and push, whether it’s bringing (pitching prospect) Logan Evans up as a reliever in the second half. All of the messaging right now is a level of urgency, which I appreciate, but it is going to be a matter about what is that next move that does happen.”

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Pressure is on M’s front office

In a recent interview with The Seattle Times, Mariners chairman John Stanton expressed support for the front office to make the needed moves to bolster the roster this season. He also said the expectation is for this team to win the AL West.

Host Stacy Rost asked Shusterman if that meant the pressure is on Seattle’s players.

“We like to say, ‘Oh, man. There’s more pressure on them now because the owner said this. There’s more pressure on them now because this person said this.’ All these players expect to win the division too, especially in this situation now,” Shusterman said.

Related: What will make an uncomfortable Mariners trade worth it?

Shusterman believes Stanton’s comments put the pressure on the front office.

“No matter what the standings are, I do think that you’re exactly right that now it’s a situation of everyone here indicating we are pushing forward, we are going for a division title, and that is new,” Shusterman said. “That is a new opportunity. That is something that is very exciting for everybody involved, and now it is on them. I would say it’s more pressure maybe is on the front office to actually make something happen and on ownership to actually support something along those lines.”

Listen to the full conversation at this link or in the audio player near the top of this story. Tune in to Bump and Stacy weekdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. or find the podcast on the Seattle Sports app.

More on the Seattle Mariners

• Alonso, Robert or Guerrero? Keith Law on each as M’s Trade Targets
• How Mariners starter Bryan Woo’s fastballs are so effective
• Bob’s Baseball Breakdown: Would Bob go all-in on Mariners trade?
• Three things that jump out after first-place Mariners’ latest series win
• Watch: Mariners’ Cal Raleigh picks up rare stolen base
• Are any Seattle Mariners prospects untouchable in trades? Law weighs in

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