If the season ended today, the Seattle Mariners would make the playoffs. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean very much.
Certainly we are far enough into the season that it is no longer “early,” but there is still a long way to go before this franchise can feel good about locking up a playoff spot. There are still too many teams in the hunt.
The Toronto Blue Jays are 1.5 games back, and they are likely to be motivated traders. Then there are the AL Central buddies, namely the Kansas City Royals (2.5) and the Cleveland Indians (3.5). Finally, there is the evil empire, also known as the New York Yankees (3.5).
Theoretically the Chicago White Sox (6.5) and Minnesota Twins (7.5) could climb back into the race, but for now let’s assume they won’t claw their way past that many teams.
At the moment, ESPN gives the Mariners a 55.4% chance of making the playoffs. Again, that’s nice and all but the Blue Jays have a 49.7% chance and they are currently on the outside looking in. Those numbers could very quickly get swapped.
All of this to say that the Mariners cannot get comfortable. This is why there is constant trade talk, and why names like David Price, Josh Willingham, Dayan Viciedo and Justin Morneau keep coming up.
The sense is that the Mariners are going to need some reinforcements if they are going to keep other teams at bay. Based on the way the numbers are looking right now, that may be a wise sentiment.
Seattle has a lead right now, but it is a precarious one. It is theirs to lose.