We’re now more than a quarter of the way through this Mariners season. And while I’m still far from calling it a total failure, at this point, I’m fully sympathetic to those who might have already lost faith and even those who believe changes from ownership down need to happen.
Over the last 25 games, the M’s have won just six times. They haven’t won consecutive games in almost a month. A team that was projected to win around 84 games is currently on pace to win just 66 games this season – their worst win total in a full season since 2011. They're already ten games out of first place in the American League West.
Now, I’ll take blame for buying into the preseason hype. After all, this was a team that had one of the best finishes in baseball at the end of the regular season last year.
And despite no major splashes in free agency aside from arguably Robbie Ray, the thought was this exciting young core would only continue to make progress.
I understand that many excuses will be made, from injuries to Kyle Lewis and Evan White that have stalled their development to the latest injury to Mitch Haniger. Jarred Kelenic’s struggles to stay up at the big league level as well.
But I will continue to say what I’ve said from the beginning: Excuses are just not good enough for this regime, because in the grand scheme of things, they’ve accomplished nothing. You can tout an exciting Farm System filled with prospects all you want. You can fawn over budding superstars like Logan Gilbert or Julio Rodriguez, which I admit to doing on a regular basis.
But until it translates into a divisional championship or a playoff spot at the very least, what does anybody truly have to hang their hats on?
In 12 seasons as a general manager in Major League Baseball, Jerry Dipoto has made the playoffs just once, and never in his seven years in Seattle. This could be his eighth. It’s his responsibility for this team – a team that he has made us wait multiple seasons through a rebuild - to produce results. Otherwise, he will fall into the same category of every other Mariner GM who has tried to sell us a bag of goods.
If things don’t turn around soon, we’ll inevitably see the hitting coach or bench coach or some other second-tier coach fired as a scapegoat for the team’s problems, when the buck needs to stop closer to the top.
And when I say the top, might I also suggest whoever is responsible for keeping the Mariners payroll in the bottom third of all of baseball. The Mariners are spending $183 million less than the most expensive team in the league, and that reflects poorly on one of two places: Either an ownership of a team that’s valued at $1.7 billion dollars spending so little, or a general manager assuring that ownership that they can win without spending significantly more.
Whichever one it is, it has not worked.
Do I think this rebuild has been a failure? Not yet. Which is why I’m willing to see this thing out, although that patience is wearing quite thin.
But to those who have already seen enough, I completely understand.
We can only hope to see an accountability that eventually leads to the success that Mariners fans truly deserve.