BROCK AND SALK

ESPN’s Passan: Mariners ‘enjoyable team to watch in a very weird way’

Apr 2, 2019, 12:45 PM | Updated: 5:26 pm

Domingo Santana is getting more playing time with the Mariners than he did in 2018. (AP)...

Domingo Santana is getting more playing time with the Mariners than he did in 2018. (AP)

(AP)

To 710 ESPN Seattle listeners and Mariners fans, ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan is known as the pessimistic yin to the optimistic yang of MLB Network and FOX Sports MLB reporter Jon Morosi.

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The pair take turns joining Brock and Salk throughout the baseball season – if Passan is on one week, then Morosi will be the next – and Tuesday marked Passan’s first interview of 2019 with the show.

There was some intrigue coming into his segment, as the Mariners are off to a 6-1 start, but Passan stayed true to his reputation as a wet blanket for Mariners fans feeling good about their team.

“It’s so great to hear you guys sounding like you did all of last April and May,” Passan said to Brock and Salk right out of the gate, referencing the 2018 team’s strong start that ultimately did not lead to a playoff appearance.

And when Mike Salk brought up how the Mariners have been surprising early on in a season where they’re not expected to be good, Passan exclaimed, “They’re not good.”

Tough crowd.

Passan did go on to say he’s at least been entertained by the Mariners so far, though.

“I’m enjoying this Mariner team actually a lot more than I did last year’s,” he said. “There’s some fun things to watch on this team and there’s some athletes, and it’s an enjoyable team to watch in a very weird way.”

Here are a few players Passan said are making the M’s fun to watch.

Domingo Santana

“Domingo Santana’s been really good, and it’s been cool seeing him get plate appearances because this was a guy who hit 30 home runs two years ago and barely got to play last year because he got aced out by two of the best outfielders in baseball (Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain in Milwaukee).”

American League Player of the Week Tim Beckham

“Tim Beckham has the capacity to go on just these incredible runs, and he’s in the middle of one of those right now. When he is playing like this it’s awesome to watch.”

Mallex Smith

“Mallex Smith I think has been the guy that the Mariners were hoping for last year when they moved Dee Gordon to center field, except Mallex Smith has a little more pop than Dee Gordon does and Mallex Smith can probably steal bases as well as Dee Gordon does.”

Yusei Kikuchi

“I think Kikuchi is a dude. I think he’s going to be very good. There are differing opinions among evaluators in terms of how good he can be. I’ve had one person tell me he thinks he’s going to be a top 10 pitcher in the American League within a year. I’ve had another person say the command and control just aren’t there enough for him to be anything more than a 3 or 4. The point is, he is a solid Major League pitcher, and getting into that rotation was a coup for Jerry Dipoto this offseason and I think something that the Mariners should take a lot of solace in, considering this was an offseason where they seemingly traded away all of their good players.”

That is just a little of what Passan had to say in his segment with Brock and Salk, which you can listen to in the embedded player in this post or download in podcast form at this link.

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