AL West rivals: Seattle Mariners

We continue to take a look at each of the Astros AL West rivals culminating in a microscopic look at our own Astros. Today we will focus on the Seattle Mariners. We will include some stats from 2019 and 2020 since 2020 was such an odd wad season.

  • Last Playoff season – 2001 when their unbelievable 116-46 team lost to the Yanks in the ALCS
  • Last Playoff winning series – 2001 when they beat the Indians in the ALDS
  • They have never been to the World Series in their 44 seasons
  • 2019 Record – 68-95  5th place in the AL West – 39 games back / 35-46 at home / 33-48 on road / 23-26 one run games / 9-4 extra inning games – They were 1-18 against the Astros!!!
  • Hitting – 4.68 runs/game (10th in AL) / .237 BA (14th) / .316 OBP (10th) / .740 OPS (10th) / 239 HRs (7th)
  • Pitching – 5.51 runs/game (13th in AL) / 1.382 WHIP (9th) / 34 saves (8th) – Starters – 5.21 ERA (9th)  / Relievers – 4.77 ERA (12th)
  • 2020 Record – 27-33  3rd place in the AL West – 9 games back / 14-10 at home / 13-23 on road / 7-8 one run games / 2-3 extra inning games -They were 3-7 against the Astros
  • Hitting – 4.23 runs/game (12th in AL) / .226 BA (13th) / .309 OBP (T12th) / .678 OPS (14th) / 60 HRs (14th)
  • Pitching – 5.05 runs / game (10th) / 1.378 WHIP (11th) / 15 saves (8th) – Starters – 4.41 ERA (7th)  /  Relievers – 5.92 (15th)

Review

The Mariners were the worst team in the AL West in 2019, starting off with a crazy 13-2 start, where they were scoring an unsustainable 7.8 runs per game. They went 55-93 the rest of the way sinking into the AL West cellar. In 2020 their hitting worsened and their pitching improved, which allowed them to crawl up into the 3rd spot in the division. Drop offs by the Rangers and the Angels helped them with that climb. In addition, the Mariners have gone from middle of the road age-wise to one of the youngest teams in the bigs.  

Offense

The Mariners offense was below average in 2019 and dipped to plain poor in 2020. And though trader Joe (GM Jerry Dipoto) basically left the positional players alone in the offseason, there is real reason for hope. Catcher Tom Murphy, who enjoyed half a break out season in 2019 (18 HRs and 40 RBIs in 73 games) returns from a foot injury that kept him out of 2020. Former All-Star Mitch Haniger has not played since the day in July 2019, when he fouled a Justin Verlander pitch off his (groin) area resulting in mulitple surgeries for that or for core and back injuries tied to that injury. His return is a huge boost to the offense. Dylan Moore, who hit well in a small sample as a utility player in 2020 takes over the second base starting spot. Ty France came over in a trade from the Padres in 2020 and his strong performance puts him forward as the full time DH (though his .390 BAbip from 2020 is not sustainable). Rookie of the Year CF Kyle Lewis will only get better and they hope that OF Jake Fraley overcomes his terrible cameos the last couple of season to become the third outfielder going forward. 1B Evan White, SS J.P. Crawford and 3B Kyle Seager return with the thought that all three will have better 2021’s with a better lineup around them.  The M’s could get back to an AL average hitting team with a little luck.

Starting Pitching

The Mariner’s starters were the best part of the team the last two seasons, going from average to above average in 2020. Ace Marco Gonzales (7-2, 3.10 ERA) returns along with solid Justus Sheffield  (4-3, 3.58 ERA). The big move the M’s made was picking up former Seattle ace, James Paxton in free agency. After six strong seasons in the Northwest Paxton had a good year in 2019 for the Yankees, followed by a year mostly wiped out by off-season back surgery followed by elbow problems during the year. He finally got into a ST game this week and was excellent with 8 Ks in 4.1 innings. The team also needs something better out of Yusei Kikuchi, who was a top notch pitcher in Japan for years and has been a bad pitcher for the M’s the last two seasons. The depth chart shows Chris Flexen, signed as a Free Agent from the Mets as the 5th starter, though if he does not win the job (as his numbers from New York were horrible) the M’s may turn to Nick Margevicius, who was decent (2-3, 4.57 ERA) last season. The M’s may improve a tad and have an above average rotation

Bullpen

The M’s bullpen was bad in 2019 and in 2020 they were the worst in the American League. As many a laid off employee has heard, the M’s have decided to “go in another direction” at the high leveraged spots in the pen. They traded for veteran reliever Rafael Montero from the Rangers, who was excellent in 2019 and OK in 2020, to be their closer. They signed Free Agent reliever Keynan Middleton from the Angels, who was excellent in 2018 and 2019 and bad in 2020 to be their main set-up man. Kendall Graveman, once a promising starter with the A’s returns one year further removed from TJ surgery after a poor 2020. Brady Lail, Casey Sadler and Anthony Miesevicz return after so-so seasons. The M’s did sign former Astros closer and BFF of A.J. Hinch, Ken Giles, to a two year contract. Of course this was after having arm surgery last September, so he will not be able to help out until 2022. It is hard not to see another year of poor performance overall from this bullpen.

2021 Prediction: 74-88 and 4th in the AL West

The M’s are a very young club. They could threaten the .500 mark in 2021 and possibly slide into 3rd spot in the West, but their focus is probably a year or two further down the line.  

48 comments on “AL West rivals: Seattle Mariners

  1. Unfortunately, Seattle has had far greater problems over the past year than the struggles of the M’s. It has become America’s Beirut or Damascus – a city under siege.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Probably bordering on political here, but I’ve had this odd anticipation or wonder if you will, of not only SEA but Philly and some other places turned to Tent Cities & burning buildings, etc. that it would NOT be such a fun atmosphere to take the family to a ballgame for fear of getting mugged outside the park. I don’t have data to back it up, it’s just been a persistent thought.

      Seems to me everything is turning into a Zoom meeting (particularly northern cities), and MLB is looking to cash in with TV rights & advertising more than beer sales and memorabilia. On the other blog, one writer suggested putting ads on player jerseys, if you’ve seen Winter leagues or soccer uniforms. With 25-50% capacity, how in the world will MLB make up the losses ahead? The cardboard cut-outs aren’t cutting it!

      Not to stray too far from the M’s, they have some really good young talent, but I’ve never been much of a fan of Dipoto. Lewis White Sheffield are a good nucleus. Jarred Kelenic, who they got in the Cano deal is going to be a star!
      They’ll be happy to get Haniger back. The SP’s are unimpressive. I do look for them to finish 4th or 5th in the division. And remain a cesspool.

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  2. I have two questions in my mind going into 2021 concerning the Seattle. 1. Will Paxton be as tough on the Astros as I remember? 2. Is Dipoto a direct relative of Frank Lane? And if so, will he trade Willy Miranda again this year? (Sorry, that is 3 questions.

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  3. In my mind, I thought that the Astros would offer at least Springer money in that 6 years / $150 MM range. My thought process behind this is:
    – Correa will be 27 entering FA – very young – Springer was 31
    – Correa is playing a higher valued position at SS vs. CF
    – Yes, Correa has missed time, but so has Springer. I calculated that Correa played in approx. 74% of possible games, while Springer played in 78% of possible games during each’s tenure
    – Springer had better production and health lately so that evens things up a bit
    If Correa thought he was going to be the next $300 MM man, well there is little chance of that in my mind based on his health issues. But he may be thinking he should get 7 or 8 years and in the $200 – 250 MM range.
    I wonder if Correa is giving them a counter offer or not. My gut feeling is this will not get resolved before the season – because I doubt Correa really wants to stay here as badly as McCullers did.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I always thought, the same way Beltran treated us (our $100m wasn’t enough) by not staying on in ’05 (what could have been?!), his affection for Manaya, that Correa and his love of Beltran and country, they’d for sure hook up wherever Beltran landed. Who knows if Beltran is forever out of the game; what do you think?

      Yes, suspicion Correa wanted brighter lights, higher profile.. MIA and the Yankees F.O. connection, very young and talented group?? Beltran swoops in.

      It brings up an interesting question for me. Surely, Correa has 50 million MORE he could be playing for this season — every incentive to have his best ever season. How does that start playing out in the clubhouse that he’s a one-year guy? Starts becoming the elephant in the room if Public Relations doesn’t get ahold of the story. “What Correa is going to do” detracts and destabilizes from the task at hand, but media persists in asking it. Do they bug all the free agents this way, chiding at it? Had Correa said he’s not going to talk about it, it would have been the end of it a month ago, and that’s why this story is actually 2 weeks old. Correa hadn’t responded.

      If you start to think of Cole’s actions in retrospect . . . when do you think he’d already decided he was moving on? In some ways, all along.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dan, the Astros didn’t offer Springer 6/150 money, so why would they offer Correa Springer money? You look at the Astros payroll situation for the next five years and they don’t have room for Springer money.
      Every team needs a closer and a closer usually costs good money. Every team needs five starting pitchers and I don’t have to tell you what they cost, but I can tell you what LMJ is going to cost.
      They have to leave room for Tucker and Alvarez to get paid. They have to have room for their best starting pitchers to get paid.
      We want to hope that somebody who is currently an Astros young stud prospect is going to be a stud reliever, even a closer. But, over five years, that stud closer’s arbitration is going to get bigger and bigger.
      Next year, the Astros will have one of their prospects starting at SS. I would be vey surprised if they go out and spend big money on a free agent SS when they are going to need to feed in one of their top prospects into that position and spend money for a first baseman, because there is a lot of doubt in everyone’s mind whether Gurriel will be that guy.
      For sure, there is a possibility that the Astros could need a catcher, maybe a starting pitcher, a first baseman and maybe a CFer next year. They made Correa the best offer they could and he wants more. They can’t afford him.
      But they do have young shortstops ready to take his place.
      Finally, the Astros will get their top draft choices back in 2022. That also will put them back into having to spend bigger money for those top 2 draft choices. The money they spend on the draft adds to the luxury tax payroll and the Astros have been spending less than half of the money they normally would have for the draft the last two years. Next year, that money goes back up.

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      • Op, as you know the Astros have been cunning in the drafts lately and one way to keep costs down is pay less for a #1 Korey Lee, and pay more for a #4 Colin Barber to woo him away from college. We also capitalized as we both predicted a year before they did, on the int’l market by buying the most expensive Leon we could.

        And therein lies your catcher query too. They are set with Lee and Stubbs backing Castro in ’22, and who knows if HOU would offer Maldy one more hurrah yet otherwise? $2m wouldn’t break the bank if those prospects aren’t ready.

        The 4th pick last year Daniels is special. Santos and Ty Brown too. And the undrafted class is flying under radar. There’s a few diamonds in the rough.

        A quick shout out on my very bold prediction that De La Cruz would debut before Leon. Bryan hit .333 this Spring, I believe? I thought he tattoo’d the ball a few times in very key late-inning situations. Who will emerge in AAA in the OF? Dawson, Leon, DLC? Looks pretty formidable. An old timer I know really likes the two OF we got last undrafted Cody Orr, and Jonathan Dirden.

        Start looking down this line of names, not mentioning Richi Gonzales a 19-yr old phenom, or Kenedy Corona, maybe Ranier Rivas in the Stassi trade? It’s no wonder to me we allowed Springer to walk, frankly. Now that George is hurt, what a literal back-breaker, but our future looks bright. Especially if Straw carries on!

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      • Korey Lee has virtually no pro experience. How would he be able to handle a MLB pitching staff with no professional experience?
        Rushing a catcher that is not even a Top 100 prospect to the majors would be a disaster.
        Lee has 29 pro starts as a catcher.
        Lee has 259 pro plate appearances.

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      • Korey Lee. ETA 2022, I hold to it, my friend.

        I contend his current FIELD 50 and POWER 55 grades are slightly low to his future value. #5 in our system is stout and a virtual lock, so the options I mentioned if he’s not ready next Opening Day are at worst temporary.

        He will get some time in Corpus and SL this season imo. I expect his xBH to prove the case. We’ll also get to see if CJ Stubbs can follow up .600 slugging in Corpus.

        Papierski is very well thought of defensively, and why we released Ritchie (Robinson fleeced). Perry, Quintana in 2023, Nerio Rodriguez ’24 are still possible.

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  4. OP – In my mind, I don’t know why you would offer Correa anything if you can’t give him a competitive bid and looking at what Springer got, you have to believe that Correa would get more in the open market due to his age and position.
    Now if you did this just to get he conversation going – I can understand – but I don’t think they could have thought this would be close enough to even get a counter offer.
    The Astros could have enough money to sign Correa to let’s say $25 MM per year depending on what they do with the pitching. If they are going to fill in behind Verlander and Greinke with youngsters that is like $60 MM right there. I mean it is not $25 MM more – it is about $13 MM more than what they are paying Correa right now.
    Let’s be clear – I’m OK if they don’t re-sign him and head another direction – Jeremy Pena? I just thought it was a fairly weak effort (though it is not my money – as usual).

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    • I think you are forgetting that they have already filled in with a bunch of money for Odorizzi for next year and LMJ for five years. The $58 million that they were going to have available with JV and Greinke leaving has already had $24 million of it shaved off between LMJ and Odorizzi for 2022.

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      • They will be paying LMJ – $9 MM more than this year and Odorizzi $8 MM (that granted could be more if he meets a range of incentives). So let’s call it $20 MM off the $58 MM. If you give Correa $13 MM more than he makes right now that would leave about $25 MM, which I’m sure they would spend some place.
        If they don’t re-sign him – then they have more $$ to invest in what they have, sign someone else or save and I am OK with that. But it is not impossible. In the end I don’t think he really wants to stay here when there are bright lights out there beckoning.

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    • In Correa’s mind he should be getting money comparable to Tatis Jr. and Machado. Quite frankly, if it’s based on potential he would be right. The problem is his track record indicates not living up to his potential. Is that because of the injuries throughout his career? None have been career threatening. He can make a strong case that his best years are ahead of him. Some team(s) will believe that and make him some very high offer. Or we could see the other free agent shortstops grab the sweetest offers and leave Correa to accept a lesser one. I don’t think Crane/Click can afford to get burned on this one given the salary reasons laid out by Oldpro above. $20M a year is actually pretty solid based on his career stats. But if it were my money I wouldn’t take Seager, Lindor, or Story (.994 OPS at Coors, .760 away) if I could sign Correa.

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  5. Assuming the Astros offered 120 over 6 years, maybe with a counter by the Correa camp, the Astros final offer would have gotten into the Springer range of 150. As an aside, Spotrac has pegged value at 17.7 a year for Correa. I’m not sure how credible their numbers are, but regardless, I think Correa has much, much more in mind, making further discussion a moot point. My only hope beyond Carlos having a great season is that he stops talking about his next contract on April 1 as promised. I don’t want to listen to his stance all season long. And I’ve never bought into his leadership role either.

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    • I don’t play poker but I do enjoy watching some of the games on TV. One thing I noticed, no one goes “all in” before the first card is shown. The Astros can always offer Carlos $350 million next November if they so choose to do so. But if he was truly wanting to stay in Houston, $120 Million seems a decent place to start. Let’s play ball and see what 2021 brings for all the Astros in the way of performance.

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      • Was looking at Cot’s and the Fan Graphs payroll charts. JV & ZG total $55.5MM since AZ is picking up 10.3 of Zack’s. Another 20.3MM for CC, MM, Joe Smith, and Brooks Raley. That’s 75.8MM unless I missed something. And no I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn last night but I often stay at the “No Tell-Motel”.
        As for CC we could sweeten the pot with some nice incentives but I really think he wants the big bucks, bright lights, and the Fan fare that goes along with it. If it looks there is not a deal in the works by the trade deadline and we can win in the playoffs and do w/o him, get the most you can for him. I’m sure somebody out there will pay handsomely for his services. Of course I might have had one too many last night too.

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  6. The lineup today will be a total YAWNER, and we’re only trying to get Greinke’s pitch count numbers my guess to 75?

    Astros trying one last semblance of an old fashioned dogfight for the last remaining 4th OF spot by pitting them all against each other (except Dawson who will sub surely with Meyers). McCormick has the edge since he’s already roster’d. The rest are playing to keep our stars healthy. Diaz needs to show he can run, and that might eliminate the need for a 4th OF, which would open the door for Jones (& Toro) as power bench bat? My final answer is the 26th man is McCormick, and he has roughly a month to hold position.

    CF Siri
    LF McCormick
    RF De La Cruz
    C Maldonado
    1B Toro
    3B Garcia
    SS Pena
    2B Hinojosa
    DH Diaz

    RHP Zack Greinke

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  7. Some thoughts:
    * Robel Garcia may have blown a good chance to latch on to a roster spot. Have I missed something here.
    * The Astros deadline acquisitions might be Josh James and Framber Valdez.
    * I will be following closely the progress of Jeremy Pena and Freudis Nova in AA and AAA.
    * Right now, Solis, Solomon and Ivey are all listed on the Skeeters roster. That is a vote of confidence in Solis, as far as I am concerned and seems to shine a good light on him. He is 3+ years younger than the other two. Let’s see where he ends up starting the minor league season.
    * Abreu is starting for the Astros today against almost all of the Mets starting lineup and with an Astros lineup of mostly starters behind him. Big day for Abreu, I think.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You could see it as Garcia blown opportunity, or the emergence of pushing the dial juuust enough by Jones and Toro. I would DFA Garcia, and not offer the MiLB deal since we have many UTIL types in the works. Garcia’s “demise” is that Diaz is healthy and could finally have a breakout type season as bench guy extraordinaire. If not, I like Jones all the way.

      You are correct, it is a very big day for Mr. Abreu and I think he will absolutely shine if he can carry over his last performance, in which he looked like a New Man! Exactly what Strommie saw in him when he yanked him last year because of weight and “spending money lifestyle” he commented on. Imagine being able to see through that and knowing what potential lie ahead, for brent Strom to have continued the whole season saying, “I think he can be a Starter”!

      Don’t forget Op, I said last Fall I believe Solis is ahead of Baseball America’s projection of 2022. You questioned me on it. Since he’s on 40-man, it gives him a huge advantage over two guys who aren’t, but just as good right now imo … I’ll let you guess them.

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  8. The major league baseball season starts next week and probably well over a hundred minor leaguers getting ready to report to Astros facilities in West Palm Beach. Exciting times for us fans and for prospects who have been waiting for almost 18 months to play baseball again.

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    • Super exciting, so many guys who were let’s say 4th to 20th round guys drafted in 2018 and 2019. Just to throw out a few:

      Matthew Barefoot
      Alex McKenna
      Ryan Gusto
      Pete Solomon
      Austin Hansen

      How about all the DSL pitchers back then, finally coming State side; Jaquez, Tokar, Cobos? The utter domination of Jairo Lopez and Valente Bellozo. Hey, we got 100 mph Rivera back!

      How about the older guys in AAA in 2019 who had their last hopes dashed, yet still left standing; Garza, Emanuel, McKee?

      At least they have 4 leagues and will be playing this year!! Ashville, NC will never be more Astros blessed.

      Liked by 1 person

      • 5 leagues if you don’t forget the GCL Astros, who have 18 pitchers and 22 position players currently listed on their roster.
        There is going to be some movement in the system in the next six weeks!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I keep forgetting GCL.

        Well, this game looks lost in the 6th. Think I’ll get some sunshine and walk the dog..

        We better get oursleves right and Quick! LAD just played all their starters and A’s beat them like a drum 11-0. Laureano, another one that got away, is lighting up Spring Training. That first series is going to be a good barometer as to whether we’re ready to take back the AL West. I sure hope we are past the Correa drama by then.

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    • I’m all ready to walk out over covid. Apparently, Straw has been scratched last second. What do you want to bet with absolutely no symptoms, he is being held out because he was witin 6 ft of a cellphone that registed him in Contact Tracing protocol? Nobody will ever go to the hospital mind you, and MLB won’t follow up with what actually happened — watch. He won’t have a seroprevalence test to prove whether he has live/dead virus, and just antibodies since he’s fought a common cold since SARS MERS here since 1999. They’ll just leave the Fear Factor hanging because they are accepting more money from COVID ad space than Black Lives Matter. As it is, it’s just easier for me to put music on during these telecasts, drown out all the noise.

      If MLB was SOOOO proud of BLM, they should put up a big painted signs in stadiums, instead of that half-measure CGI on back of the mound. But you know as well as I do, they have to be subtle at this point. It’s just a passtime for me, it won’t be missed when they get woke. I’ll be gone fishin’…

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  9. The Mets announcers have been going on and on about how great Lindor is and his pending fee agency. So I looked up his stats compared to Carlos and was surprised. They both came into the league in 2015. In 6 years, Lindor has played in 777 games and Carlos 604. Lindor has 896 hits and Carlos 626. Both OPS of .833. But when one guy played in a complete season more games in 6 years, it would appear, all things equal, he would get a better contract.

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      • Actually you know what? On second thought, rereading the post above , as a supporter of BLM I realize I’m not welcome here.

        It’s been great when it’s been about baseball but if I wanted to deal with the usual right wing nonsense I’d talk to more people around me and not hate living here so much.

        I’m done.

        Enjoy your old boys club.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Francisco Lindor and Carlos Correa came up at virtually the same time. Lindor has been the far more reliable and complete player, in that time.
    It’s no secret. Look at anything you want stat wise or eye wise. Lindor has the stats and he has the hardware to back it up.
    Correa has the ego.

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  11. Mark Appel who has spent three seasons away from the game is about to report to the Phillies minor league camp. Add your own caption.

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