Game 105, Red Sox at Rebuilding-ish Mariners
Wade LeBlanc vs. David Price, 7:10pm
I picked a rotten time to hit the road, but I’m looking over the rim of Crater Lake, and the biggest move the M’s made at the deadline was a straight swap of low-ceiling lefties.
There are two ways to look at the state of the ball club after the deadline. One is that Jerry Dipoto’s trades have blown up on him, and that the M’s are still looking for key contributions from the second tier of players surrounding their aging core. The Carson Smith trade now looks like an elite reliever and fungible Cuban lefty for a bad reliever and a fungible Cuban lefty. Nate Karns seems like he’s being demoted FROM the bullpen back to the rotation because they don’t know what else to do. Meanwhile, Brad Miller got over a bad start and is out-hitting Ketel Marte, who’s trying to rebuild his strength. Boog Powell’s missed a good chunk of the year through suspension.
At the same time, you have to give Dipoto credit for moving on. In retrospect, what doomed Jack Zduriencik was his inability to alter course after Dustin Ackley, Justin Smoak and Jesus Montero had been installed as the core of the ever-elusive Next Great Mariners Team. Wade Miley can’t be turned back into a healthy Carson Smith, and the M’s will have to make something of the shortstop position with what they have, and what they can acquire. Dipoto didn’t let a weak market for, uh, crappy ball players stop him. He made the best of a bad hand, and that at least speaks to a willingness to adapt. The Mike Montgomery trade was a good example of filling a need using a player who couldn’t really help the M’s.
That said, I’ve been reading about what each trade says about the market and struggle to square that with what the M’s got back for Miley. When he was acquired, the line was that average-y starting pitching was incredibly valuable; with free agent deals for everyone from Mike Leake to Mike Pelfrey meant you had to pay a lot in talent for durable starters, regardless of their track record. I…I would like to have seen some evidence of that supposed principle in the most recent Miley deal.
In any event, the curtain’s down on the M’s playoff pursuit for 2016, as next week’s rotation looks to include both Wade LeBlanc and Ariel Miranda. (To be fair: the movement on his fastball in particular looks interesting and uncommon, but it also hasn’t helped him yet). The M’s are still in the process of becoming. It sounds like they can make a last run with this core group in 2017, though with the moves Texas and Houston have made, a lot would need to go right. I’m stuck with them, so I can only have a beer and try to feel bemused. You can too, if you like.
Today, the M’s face Boston with a new-ish pitcher and a brand new closer. Steve Cishek’s officially out, and Edwin Diaz will take over. That didn’t take long, but it arguably came too late to save the M’s 2016.
Guillermo Heredia’s up? I would’ve thought that was impossible back in March, but credit to Heredia and the M’s PD folks, as he’s come on for Tacoma. This isn’t a savior, but I’ll take a decent 4th OF for essentially nothing.
1: Heredia, LF
2: Gutierrez, RF
3: Cano, 2V
4: Cruz, DH
5: Lee, 1B
6: Seager, 3B
7: Zunino, C
8: Martin, CF
9: Sardiñas, SS