With Pitcher and Catchers set to report on Friday, and the sting of the NFL playoffs behind us, it’s normal for fans to look ahead to the upcoming baseball season. (For some of us, it’s a year around obsession.) You can’t say that the offseason hasn’t been “interesting”. Since coming on board, Jerry Dipoto has virtually overhauled the entire team. The 40-man roster has 16 new names on it. Has any team every seen that kind of turnover in one season?
But will the changes be for better, or worse?
As a fan, could it get any worse? I mean really. How much worse can it get? This team was predicted by many to make the World Series last year, and ended up placing 4th in the Division with a sub-80 win year. Since their last playoff birth in 2001, the team has gone .500 or better 5 times in 14 years. Outside of a few flashes, the team has been miserable to watch, and it’s shown at the box office. The 2014 Mariners were the first team in 7 years to show an attendance increase, including 3 straight years of sub-2 million (the lowest attendance since 1995 – for 3 straight years). Adding in 2015 Cano helped a little, but certainly not enough to offset his salary.
So can it get any worse?
I know what you’re thinking: “Be optimistic!” “Give Dipoto a chance to execute his vision.” “We’re going to be better off.” What makes you think fans will wait that long? At the end of the day, like it or not, the Seattle Mariners are one of the worst franchises in baseball right now. It’s certainly played that way on the field, and it’s certainly been heading that way for attendance.
And now we’re starting over. Again.
Since Day 1, Jerry Dipoto has made it clear that he hated pretty much everything that Jack Zduriencik did. I don’t know how much more clear you can make it when you trade/release/change up close to 50% of your Major League roster in one offseason. Who does that? And how did we go from a “World Series Contender” last year (which I never bought into with A) Our lack of quality pitching and B) Our lack of quality outfielders), to a complete overhaul? How do you deal with that as a fan? We’ve gone from “playoff contenders” to a team that our GM expects to win around 85 games. So what you’re telling me, is that the organization is planning on us not making the playoffs… Again.
It wouldn’t be so bad if Dipoto had replaced half our roster with explosive talent, but overall he’s replaced half the team with a variety of question marks or also-rans, which didn’t work out for Jack Zduriencik either. Pitching poor last year — 10 new pitchers on the roster. That’s great! Until you look at guys like Justin DeFratus and his 5.51 ERA w/Philly. Or maybe Wade Miley’s 4.46 ERA, or Cody Martin’s 5.40 ERA, or Ryan Cook, or Evan Scriber. Outfielding poor — Pick up Aoki, Martin, and (kind of) Lind. Leonys Martin, a light hitting CF; 0.219 last year with a lifetime average of 0.255. Nori Aoki, a light hitting RF. Adam Lind, a legitmate doubles threat with good power, but questionable durability (every other year since 2011). Martin and Aoki will certainly be better fielders than Ackley and Cruz/Trumbo/Miller/Smith/Insert Player that played RF here, but we already have enough light hitters as it is. But what about Catcher? We added Chris Ianetta and Steve Clevenger. Chris Ianetta played close to 100 games last year, and hit 0.188. Um, we already had a starting Catcher that hit under 0.200, and we sent him to Tacoma.
So what do we have as fans? A “junk drawer”. We all have that drawer in our house that’s filled with all kinds of crap. We don’t know what’s in there, or where to find it, and ever so often we open the drawer and say “Cool, I didn’t know this was in there.” But the majority of time, it’s junk we didn’t want to throw out, but never use. That’s how I feel about the majority of our roster right now. Does that make me a pessimist? Yes, a little. I know it’s popular to pile-on, but you can read past posts — I’ve done plenty of cheerleading. I’ve even picked the M’s to make the playoffs, when sadly, they did not… Again. But like it or not, our roster is a “junk drawer” of players, one we won’t know what’s in until we open it starting Friday. Will we like what we see?
Time will tell, but in the meantime, I think it’s clear that the Mariners new marketing slogan should be “Seattle Mariners: Who Are These Fucking Guys?” (And if you disagree, name the guys in the header picture, and tell me the three that are missing.)