And Now We Look Forward
Normally, the end of a baseball season isn’t something I would celebrate, but I join Marc is saying that I’m glad the 2011 season is over for the Mariners. There were some positives but more negatives, and for the last few months, the team just wasn’t a particularly compelling product. So, now, we look forward to 2012.
We start that off today with my final piece of the season over at Brock and Salk’s blog. Here’s the gist of the point:
With the M’s loss last night, they finished the season at 67-95. They ended the season with just a few actual Major League players in the lineup and the starting pitcher was perhaps the worst hurler in the history of the game. Given their struggles over the last few years, it’s common to hear people talk about why this team is several years away from contending, and how next year will probably be more of the same.
It doesn’t have to be however.
Need an example? The Arizona Diamondbacks are the NL West Champions, having finished the year with a 94-68 record that easily outpaced the rest of their division rivals. Their record in 2010? 65-97, worse than what the Mariners put up this year. And it’s not like they just had a down year due to injuries and then bounced back — they went 70-92 in 2009, giving them 135 wins in the two seasons prior to their dominance this year. That’s pretty darn close to the 128 wins the Mariners have compiled the last two years.
You’re going to hear a lot of people talk about what the Mariners “need to do” this winter. Some people think they need to raise payroll and sign Prince Fielder. Others think they need to commit to the youth movement and let the kids have a full year to show what they’re made of. While those sides don’t agree on specifics, they both come from the point of view that there’s a right path and a wrong path. I’d argue, however, that future performance is not written in stone nearly as much as people might think, and that staking your ground on one particular way of approaching this off-season isn’t a great idea.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll discuss the different options the organization has, the pros and cons of each, and talk about how the team might look depending on what way they choose to go. I just hope everyone realizes there’s not just one “right way” to approach this off-season.