Baseball is back! I can’t think of a Mariner season in the last 15 years that I was more excited about than this year. If the 2020 season was any indication, we are on an upward trajectory. Something that hasn’t been said in some time. We did have a few seasons in 2017 and 2018 where it literally came down to the last game of the season and it was out of our control. For the past 20 years…that is TWENTY with a capital T, we have been in a state of denial or impatience. We wanted our cake and eat it to. It felt like we were career gamblers. We kept cashing in our prized chips for a hand that COULD get us big money (a playoff berth). No matter how many times we lost, the desire was there. I give you Carlos Silva, Chone Figgins, Ritchie Sexton, I’ll even throw in Robbie Cano. Some of those years, we actually drafted fairly well. Who wouldn’t want Dustin Ackley. The best collegiate player out there. The big problem wasn’t drafting the players, it was developing them. Instead of developing our young talent, we broke them. I am convinced Dustin’s career would be much different if he would have stayed in the minors at least one full AAA season. I bring this all up because that is not what we are seeing today with Jerry Dipoto and the team he pulled together.
Why do I have an optimistic view this year? There are many views I am taking. Number 1, the AL West outlook is changing. Houston has a few strikes against them to predict a downward trend. They can’t cheat any longer for starters. Their top talent are leaving the scene of the crime. Springer is likely headed to Toronto. Who knows about Verlander. Altuve truly looks like someone that needed additional assistance if you know what I mean. They still are going to be tough due to their bullpen and pitching staff. LA Angels are just banking on veteran swag. I feel for Trout. They actually remind me of the Mariners in the mid 00s. Texas Rangers are in a rebuild mode. Let’s see if they go full rebuild or modifications only. Oakland I think will carry this division until the Mariners come up. You can see AL West teams are trending down or staying steady where the Mariners are coming off of a season that was strategic. We got to see our key talent get some important MLB experience.
How do I think the Mariners will fare this year? To be honest, barring major injury, I think you will see the Mariners solidify the 2nd wild card spot. This is going to be an exciting year. We will see Jarred Kelenic make his debut. We will see Logan Gilbert turn into the star we all hope. I also think we will see the last of Kyle Seager in a Mariner uniform. I love Seager. I hope he stays this season. If we can get some good talent for him though, I’m all for it.
My one hope for this upcoming season is that us fans can be at the ball park to root, root, root for the Mariners. Let’s all stay safe, get vaccinated, and enjoy the great game of baseball. Go Mariners!