Pretenders or Contenders?

May 27, 2010, 4:13 PM | Updated: Apr 4, 2011, 7:52 pm

Since the theme of the day is Pretender or Contender when it comes to the Mariners chances of making the playoffs, both Brock and Chris came up with four reasons to support each side:

Brock’s top four reasons the Mariners are “Pretenders” for the Playoffs

safeco

1. The Rangers have so much offensive fire power, and are used to the heat where the ball will fly farther. They also have some good young pitchers, and don’t know if the M’s can battle with them.

2. We are one third of the way through the season, and our offense is still not good enough, we have the second to lowest batter average. Can’t contend without better offense.

3. Our Bullpen needs to be consistently exceptional, because our offense doesn’t leave any room for error.

4. Health issues will also hurt this team; four major players have injuries, Sweeny’s back, Wilson’s hamstring, and others. It is hard to win when you have key players injured.

Chris’s top four reasons the Mariners are “Contenders” for the Playoffs

1. The American League West is the weakest league in baseball, this gives the M’s an advantage, especially come August when the Rangers bats typically drop.

2. The Mariners offense may be struggling, but we are still only seven and half games back with these low batting averages so there is chance of coming back. The team has also been hitting better and harder.

3. Defense- they have one of the best outfields in the league. Outfield isn’t the only place defense it doing great, the infield is holding up their own as well, players like Casey Kotchman haven’t had an error yet.

4. Pitching- the Mariners starting pitching is one of the best in baseball. With players like Felix and Vargus this team can contend for the playoffs

Mariners Short Stop Josh Wilson also joined the show today, and he says the Mariners believe in themselves and will not quit until the end. So it is safe to say that he believes this team can contend this year:

Wilson throwing

That is absolutely the key component is that every guy in that clubhouse still believe that this team can win. It is when you give up some runs or something and you fall to a team and you let up or you give up. You think here we go again, you know, another loss. That is the exact type of attitude that will keep you losing games. And we have not done that, we have been up beat. I mean every day coming into the clubhouse after one of those tough losses and guys are getting after it ready to go again and ready to get back out there. And show everybody all the fans out there and the people who do still believe in us and still want to see us win that we are couple of it. No matter how it goes, I mean, I know that all 25 guys in that clubhouse aren’t going to let up till the very end and keep fighting and keep believing.

He also mentioned how much love there is in the clubhouse and how it is more than just a team, it’s a brotherhood:

From my experience with the team last year, there is a lot of love in that clubhouse for everybody. I mean the guys truly care. I have not been around too many teams that were like that myself. I’ve been on a bunch of them, and I have certainly been in plenty of clubhouses where the guys got along but it was not really the brotherhood that is inside the Mariners clubhouse, and I really feel like that we have a strong group of guys that genuinely care about each other. And want to succeed for one other and I think that’s what the bond has been with us.

Seattle Times Larry Stone also joined the show today to share his thoughts on the team being a potential contender, but he has his skepticism:
They are a potential contender I mean don’t think you can be a contender when your 10 games under .500 I don’t care how close you are to 1st place. 7.5, yes that makes it realistic to still make some noise, when your 10 games under .500 that does not seem like a great jumping off point. But at some point theoretically they are going to run off a winning streak, they could run off a 5 game winning streak and be within 4 or 5 or 3 games and that is going to have to happen pretty soon or a team like Texas or Angels or Oakland it going to take control of this division and run off. I’m going to straddle the fence on that and say they could be a contender but I would not say they are right now.
Larry Stone goes on to say what contender qualities the Mariner’s currently possess and what they need to do to solidify their position as a contender.
They have the starting pitching of a champion caliber team. They have starters to contend. Something is going to have to happen with their offence. Maybe it’s Sweeney and Bradley sparking things in the middle. That’s what they been desperate for all season. They have been pathetic in scoring runs and two guys like that catching fire. Guys like Chone Figgins, Jose Lopez, and Casey Kotchman, whoever is playing catcher, and those are 4 positions out of 9 in the batting order that have been tremendously under achieving. You know when you get those guys up to norm with a couple of guys really hot you’ve got something. And I think if some what close as you get to the trading season, late June, July, I think Jack as the potential to make a move to bring in another bat. I do think that there is some hope for the offence. Which is why I am not totally giving up on this offence despite its record.
Stone thinks there is a chance to be a contender, listen to the full interview to hear more of his thoughts on how the team can achieve this.
USS Mariner Blogger Dave Cameron had other thoughts though, he feels that with the way the roster is right now, they are pretenders, but that there is a chance that they could become contenders, if some big things start changing:
I would say right now with the 25 man roster their running out right now their pretenders. They have a chance to be contenders, but they are not quite yet. Really, when you look at these rosters there are some obvious glaring problems. Everyone knows about the hitting problems, the bullpen has been a little shaky, you know even the back of the rotation is not as great now with Rowland-Smith in the bullpen and Ian Snell back as the 5th starter. There are problems on this roster there are things they could do, potentially to fix the roster, or at least improve it the point to where they could become contenders. Especially, if Chone Figgins and Jose Lopez actually remember how to hit a baseball, they could become containers, but right now with his roster I think they are pretenders.

Cameron goes on to say that there isn’t a whole lot of defensive flexibility on the team and this certainly hurts their chances of contending, but that they can win with run prevention and defense:

There is not a lot of defensive flexibility; there is not a lot you can do in late game situations if someone tweaks some thing the bench really leave Wak in a bad situation if someone gets hurt even for a few days. Realistically you look are this roster it is still Felix, Cliff Lee and Vargas, Fister have pitched really well. The run prevention is there and the defense is there. They can win with this philosophy of pitching and defense. We are seeing the Padres do it right now. You can win beating teams 3-2, but they have to get back to be able to score 3 runs a night and it kind of the problem.

Dave Cameron knows that there is potential for this Mariners team to be contenders, but unless some things change, he just doesn’t see it happening this year.

It seems that there are good points for both the Mariners being Contenders and Pretenders. While people may be divided on the issue, I’m sure we would all agree that it would be nice to see the M’s as Contenders come playoff time.

 

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