MLB Network’s Morosi: Mariners’ trade bolsters ability to win 1-run games

May 29, 2018, 3:39 PM | Updated: 3:39 pm
Alex Colomé has a save and a hold after his first two appearances with the Mariners. (AP)...
Alex Colomé has a save and a hold after his first two appearances with the Mariners. (AP)
LISTEN: Morosi: who the Mariners could be targeting as trade possibilities

When a team wins as many one-run games as the Mariners have, people tend to wonder if there is good luck that will soon run out. Jon Morosi of the MLB Network thinks Seattle has done a good job of making the outcomes of one-run games about more than just luck, though.

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“It’s sustainable to an extent,” Morosi said to Brock and Salk on Tuesday. “I’ve just been very impressed with the way that this team has gelled together, understood the way they’ve got to play.”

That way has everything to do with coming out on top in close contests, which the Mariners have done better than anyone in baseball this season. At 16-8 in one-run games, the Mariners have both played and won the most games decided by that slim of a margin in the majors.

Friday’s trade that brought in All-Star closer Alex Colomé along with veteran outfielder Denard Span should help even more in that respect for a team that right now is relying a ton on strong pitching performances.

“What I love about the move that (Mariners general manager) Jerry Dipoto made to bring in Colomé is that he’s acknowledging where this team is right now,” Morosi said. “It’s going to play a lot of close games, and if you’re going to play a lot of close games, you want to find a way to lessen the burden on your closer. … Then you get another closer, somebody that can share the burden.”

The Mariners now have that with Edwin Díaz, the MLB saves leader, and Colomé, who will primarily be a setup man even though he was the saves leader last year. In the first two games since Colomé’s arrival, the arrangement has worked out perfectly. Manager Scott Servais turned to Colomé for the save Sunday with Díaz unavailable, and Colomé then handled the eighth before Díaz closed up shop Monday to lock up another win.

The concentration on winning low-scoring games has been used to success by other teams in recent memory, as Morosi pointed out with one particular example.

“This is gonna be a low-scoring type of team, and you look back at history, the Giants won a World Series this way – (though) with probably a better starting rotation than what the Mariners have – back in 2010.”

The Mariners more likely than not will make another move trying to get closer to a rotation the level of the 2010 Giants’ before all is said and done. Dipoto still has some extra money to use from Robinson Canó’s forfeited salary, and names like Detroit’s Francisco Liriano and even Tampa Bay All-Star Chris Archer could be trade targets.

There’s a former Mariners pitcher likely to hit the trading block who could end up back with the team, as well.

“J.A. Happ fits very nicely in that price point that you’re talking about, about the money that would have been going to Robbie,” Morosi said of the current Blue Jays left-hander. “I think J.A. Happ is a name to watch in a big way for a team in Toronto that I believe is trending in the wrong direction in the standings.”

Morosi had much more to say about the Mariners during his interview with Brock and Salk, including which players he sees as favorites to play in the All-Star Game in Washington, D.C. You can hear the full segment in this podcast.

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MLB Network’s Morosi: Mariners’ trade bolsters ability to win 1-run games