Getting to competitive
The Mariners are 9.5 games behind the Angels right now. If the Angels slack off and play .500 baseball from now until the end of the year, they’ll finish at 86-76. If the Mariners take a much larger step up to play .500 ball, they’ll finish at 76-86. The Rangers playing .500 gets them to 84-78.
The Mariners, to meet a stumbling Angels, would need to win 60% of their games for the rest of their season. That’d be a tremendous turnaround, and let’s be frank — even if we call Felix up and he’s the best pitcher on the staff, even if they find out Beltre’s been replaced by an evil robot and the real Beltre is freed from captivity (where he was able to keep his skills up and so on), and Ichiro goes back to being Ichiro! there isn’t a .600 team in this Mariners squad, struggling to get out.
There’s nothing that says the Mariners can’t or won’t make up a ten-game margin over a hundred games. But the odds are stacked so far against the team being competitive this year that it’s reasonable to give up on that.
Moves intended to make the team more competitive this year, at any cost to the next good Mariner team, should be avoided. I understand they’re probably feeling enormous pressure to scrape for the break-even mark any way they can, but I’d be much happier knowing the front office was looking to build a good team in the long-term than knowing my late-season tickets might keep the gap on the division leaders under ten games.