Jeff · March 28, 2005 at 10:06 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

The baseball deities have inflicted an ancient Chinese curse upon the Mariners: the M’s play in the most interesting division in baseball.

I say that after seeing that the gang at Baseball Toaster have an American League West preview up. There’s a real diversity of opinions, especially about how the Rangers and A’s will finish. Looking at Seattle, though, they see the glass as half empty. Actually, most see a glass with a thin film of dust where water once existed.

The M’s are the only team that no one predicts will finish higher than third. Seven out of the nine writers pick Seattle to finish last.

Even though I’m picking the Mariners to finish third, too, I come away after reading the comments feeling much more optimistic about their chances than these folks. Two other elements of this preview surprised me as well.

First, what gives with the Ranger love? Regardless of how good that infield is, it’s hard to feel good about Ryan Drese: Opening Day Starter, harder still to feel good about the rest of their arms. Admittedly, I didn’t see Texas’ great leap forward last year coming, either, so I could be off-base about this.

Additionally, the group is utterly split on Oakland. They’re picked anywhere from first to third, with a couple of guys suggesting they could finish last. I don’t see the potential collapse that some do. Whatever else you want to say about a team that dealt two marquee arms, this is a pretty deep squad with a pretty deep system.

Thankfully, it’s about time for the predictions to stop serving as prologue, and for some people to start looking silly. Perhaps me.

And that’s fine with me, since much of the pleasure in baseball is watching unforeseen developments take shape. Whatever happens, it should be — what’s the word?

Oh yeah. Interesting.


59 Responses to “Toasted”

  1. Jim Thomsen on March 29th, 2005 4:18 pm

    By the way, the “Kieschnick Clock” is running. Go, Mariners, go!

    Everybody hum the “Final Jeopardy” theme ….

  2. John in L.A. on March 29th, 2005 4:57 pm

    The most puzzling thing for me, as well, was the consensus against the Beltre signing. That boggled me. Especially when placed right next to the Sexton signing.

    Off Topic: fun fluff article about Ichiro at that quotes George Brett a lot.

  3. firova on March 29th, 2005 6:55 pm

    The Mariners don’t really have to make up 26 games in order to catch Texas. They need a combination of Seattle wins and Texas losses to pull even, but it will be difficult. For starters, they must do better in divisional games. 22-36 (.379) in the AL West helped them rank first in one category last year: strength of schedule (.510). One reason the Angels, Athletics, and Rangers looked so good is that they beat Seattle so often. But even if the Mariners go .500 against the division (29-29) for a plus seven, everyone in the lead pack potentially comes back only two or three games. That puts the M’s at 70, say the Angels at 90, the A’s at 89, the Rangers take the three extra losses to go to 86. That puts the M’s record against Texas at 10-9. Shall we be generous and reverse it completely from 2004? 12-7 against Texas puts the Mariners at 72 and the Rangers at 84. Even if the Mariners underperformed by 12 games last year, I don’t think we can count it because this is a new team, new year. Even if you give them six more for personnel upgrades, that still puts them at 78. The division does create more opportunities to pick up wins, but it will be tough, and their record in the division was very close percentage-wise to their overall record.
    Where the Mariners really need to get it together is against AL teams they had no business losing to so often. Their record against Toronto and Tampa Bay was 4-12. They also went 4-14 against .500 range clubs like CWS and Baltimore. True, the AL East teams had to deal with the Yankees and Red Sox and so are probably marginally better than their records might indicate, but if the Mariners want to be at least .500 this year, 8 wins in 34 tries (.234) against those four will have to improve. Improving in the division won’t be enough. All you prospectus readers, is this doable? Going .500 against those clubs gives them a plus 9.

  4. firova on March 29th, 2005 7:11 pm

    Forgot the most important and worthless part: my prediction. I think they do the full reverse against Texas, stay the same against LA and Oakland, and pick up the nine against the weaklings to finish at 77, plus one for that hallowed statistic: good luck. 78-84. Improvement, but I hope I’m underestimating them. That’s still better than their all-time winning percentage, for more worthless information.

  5. jc on March 29th, 2005 7:23 pm

    348 i was talking about all the position player prospects the angels have that are legit not question marks like chew and how he plays defense on rollerskates and i was also sayinying the twins have the best orgama

  6. jc on March 29th, 2005 7:26 pm

    #48 sorry mistake i was talking about angels position player prospects compared to the lack of them in seattles system and also commenting on how many homegrown prospects that are legit the twins have produced.shi shoo choo looks lkike he plays defense on rollerskates to me the guy was brutal everygame i saw a ball hit at him this spring.

  7. Sphexi on March 29th, 2005 10:47 pm

    For those that follow the DMB game (Diamond Mind), Tom Tippet has got his 2005 projections up as of today at For the lazy of keyboard, he sets the M’s at 3rd in the West with an 83-79 record. His predictions are usually pretty good and the article is a good read.

  8. Ralph Malph on March 30th, 2005 9:31 am

    jc posts make my head hurt.

  9. Christopher Michael on March 30th, 2005 12:05 pm

    #57 Wow. They have our division within 5 games of each other. That would be a fun finish.