Game 155, Mariners at Rangers – It’s Officially Over

marc w · September 23, 2018 at 10:57 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Wade LeBlanc vs. Martin Perez, 12:05

So as you may have heard, the M’s were mathematically eliminated yesterday, despite crushing the Rangers. Jerry Dipoto has been about as forthright as he can be, as summarized in this TJ Cotterill article. They’ve seen the Yankees/Red Sox/Astros ascend into superteams who have more talent, younger players, and better player development, and then they’ve seen teams in the middle ground like Tampa and Oakland take steps forward, passing the M’s. While they’ve had awful seasons in 2018, it’s hard to assume the M’s will be better than Anaheim and Minnesota, too.

Dipoto’s right to point out that it’s been a successful season on the field, albeit one that hurts more than any successful year should. The M’s have been a better ball club than I thought possible. They also seem stuck. After years of being sunk by black holes – players far below replacement level – the M’s essentially fixed that problem in 2018. They’ve been hurt by a lack of high-end, superstar-level play. I’d hoped that Mitch Haniger would get there, and you can make a case he has, especially if you ignore some newfangled defensive metrics. But it’s tough when all the teams above them/around them have at least one player playing at an even higher level. James Paxton, Jean Segura, and maybe even Marco Gonzales showed flashes of that 6-7-8 WAR talent, but none’s been able to sustain it. To get to the next level, they’ll need further development from Haniger – which seems doable – and another player at that level – that seems a bit harder.

Today’s game likely marks Adrian Beltre’s final game in Arlington, where he’s become an org favorite/legend. Still would’ve loved to see what would’ve happened if Adrian played on the M’s *after* the walls moved in, or in the offensive environment of 2017.

1: Segura, SS
2: Cano, 2B
3: Cruz, DH
4: Healy, 1B
5: Seager, 3B
6: Maybin, LF
7: Negron, RF
8: Heredia, CF
9: Freitas, C
SP: LeBlanc


4 Responses to “Game 155, Mariners at Rangers – It’s Officially Over”

  1. mrakbaseball on September 23rd, 2018 12:35 pm

    I don’t know what the Mariners plan on doing this offseason. A true rebuild really isn’t practical with high salaried vets like Cano, Seager, Gordon and Leake around. Haniger, Diaz and possibly Gonzalez have the most trade value. There doesn’t appear to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

  2. Stevemotivateir on September 23rd, 2018 1:19 pm

    Well said, Marc. My thoughts mirror yours. Gotta see players that can offer more. If they lose Cruz to free agency, man, this offense is going to really be scary (in a bad way).

  3. LongDistance on September 23rd, 2018 11:48 pm

    Thanks again, Marc. They did indeed play better than expected, and even now are playing that way. Too bad they couldn’t have muddled through mid-season with at least .500 ball, but oh well.

    As for the 6-7-8 WAR talent: we did get that several years ago, and at a time when there was almost enough foundation to hold it up and make it work for us (but not quite enough). We’re now going straight into declining value and performance vs increasing relative burden. The wheels are coming off the Z (and earlier) wagon. If this was farm machinery, you’d have an auction. Just in terms of the bottom line, let alone baseball glory, what can they do now to interest the fan base for next year?

  4. mksh21 on September 24th, 2018 10:37 am

    You know now that it’s over (again). 85 wins even if they lose out, is probably far beyond what I thought going in. Trash roster, horrific farm system, Seager cratering, everyone making money has a bad contract and is old. Felix done, Cano missing 80 games. Getting either pounded out of the stadium or winning by one… somehow equaled one of our better seasons record wise. Diaz had an all-time season. I love Haniger batting lead off. Having Gordon as a multi-poisiton 9th hitting player is a perfect place for him.

    Seeing the lineups and starting pitching they threw out there 85+ wins is actually an amazing accomplishment.

    That being said, they really crapped the bed at the trade deadline, but when you have nothing of value to trade…

    Problem going in to next year is I see nowhere they can improve. The players who can get better, how much? Cano could fall off a cliff at any moment. Cruz coming back and hitting like this isn’t certain. Paxton still can’t get even close to 200 innings. He’s Eric Bedard 2.0

    Here is hoping the M’s don’t do again what they’ve done when having mirage seasons before. Realize the need to get very creative and this year was more of an aberration then a stepping stone.

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