It’s been a rough two weeks for the Seattle Mariners. After reaching a season high two games over .500, the Mariners have lost ten of the last thirteen games, including a surprising eight games in a row at home. As the calendar turns to July, the trading deadline approaches in Major League Baseball. I thought the Mariners would be contenders for a playoff spot, but, as we sit right now, they are on the fringes of the Wild Card hunt, and they would need a good two weeks of winning baseball to solidly put themselves back in the race. So, will the Mariners be buyers or sellers?
Option 1: Buyers. Even at 42-47, the Mariners are four games back in the Wild Card race. Yes, they aren’t going to catch the Astros in the A.L. West; they are currently 17.5 games back of the runaway Astros. But, the Wild Card is still feasible as it looks like the Wild Card winners in the A.L. will be around the 90 win mark at the end of the season. Like I said in the intro, a solid two weeks and the Mariners are right back near the top of the Wild Card standings, and GM Jerry DiPoto has shown time and time again that he is not afraid to make a trade.
Option 2: Sellers. Even though there is still life, should the Mariners just punt and play for 2018? We saw this last year when the Mariners trade Wade Miley to the Orioles at the deadline for Ariel Miranda, but that deal ended up benefiting Seattle as Miranda had a terrific first half as the rotation crumbled with injuries around him. The Mariners would probably move a veteran like Yovani Gallardo who struggled in the rotation, but I don’t think teams would be lining up for Gallardo after an underwhelming first half of the season. Even if the Mariners move a veteran or two, I doubt we see the team in full tear-down mode despite the first half of the season not going to plan.
Option 3: Stand Pat. So if there probably isn’t going to much buying, since the Mariners aren’t one move away, or selling, then what does that leave? I think Jerry DiPoto will give this roster a mulligan for 2017. Injuries, injuries, injuries have put him in a tough spot to evaluate what he has. Top offensive performers Robinson Cano, Jean Segura, and Mitch Haniger have all spent time on the DL. The rotation lost four starters, and we’ve learned in the last two weeks that Drew Smyly is done for the season, and Hisashi Iwakuma will be sidelined longer than originally thought. James Paxton has just regained his early season form in his last couple of starts, and all eyes will be on Felix Hernandez today who has similarly struggled in his return off the D.L. A dominant Hernandez outing today at home vs. the A’s will be a big block to build upon going into the second half of the season. If this team gets healthy, it will be like getting players in trades. The Mariners aren’t where they thought they would be coming out of Spring Training, but all is not lost yet.