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Athletics 9, Mariners 0. There’s your 162nd and final M’s score from the now-completed 2013 campaign, one that saw the owner die, the manager quit, the youth stall, and the veterans suck. The farm’s still allegedly fantastic, but the promoted players are still failing to make much of a mark. Jack Z’s shift in decision-making priority has led to a team with no defense, no bullpen, two starting pitchers, and a below-average offense that hits lots of home runs. This will forever be known as the season where the Mariners focused on hitting home runs and absolutely nothing else, and were predictably terrible.
The result of this messy season is that the M’s are presumably in worse shape now than they were in 2012, or 2011. This is an unraveling team that now enters the offseason with a roster that looks like twenty-one questions and four answers. Really, though, this team has two starters, a closer, a third baseman, and an entire roster that needs to get better before contention can be a serious thought. While it would seem prudent for the Mariners to spread the money around in trying to fill out as much of the roster as possible, all signs point to a preference to bring back the status quo at hyper inflated prices (Morales QO, Ibanez etc.) and throw a giant sum of money at a perceived fix-all top free agent. Let’s hope we’re wrong, but Jack Z has a job to save, and he spent last offseason giving DHs jobs in the field. Confidence should not be high.
This is the first Jack Z offseason to be met head-on with outright dread, and this game was perhaps the perfect transition from regular season to DH-hoarding season. The Mariners lost, by nine runs, to a team that was exactly as bad as them less than two years ago. That team doesn’t even have any money, and now they’ve won two division titles in a row where the Mariners are one Astros away from being in last place, for the second year in a row. The Mariners run differential was -130, and it was -32 last year. It was positive in 2003, and not since. Sorry for dwelling on this organization’s decade of failure, I’ll get back to trying to cover this game now.
Erasmo Ramirez capped off a stinker of a season with a stinker of a game, and man, watching him struggle has been such a drain. Erasmo got four outs and allowed four runs, on four walks and three hits. He struck out three batters, so hey, that’s neat, but he was awful overall, and all the runs came in the second inning after he got out of the mess he made in the first. This meant Mariners fans were treated to three full innings of Hector Noesi on the season’s final day, and Noesi allowed four runs of his own and you know what, I’ve heard enough about his live fastball. Noesi is the face of ineptitude and should be sent to the moon forever. Bobby LaFramboise had a good outing, and Carter Capps was fine, I guess. Tom Wilhelmsen was crappy. Like this season.
Sonny Gray and the A’s really good bullpen held the M’s to five hits, two of which came from maybe-a-good-player Brad Miller. Miller, for what it’s worth, finishes second among M’s position players with 1.7 WAR, having posted barely positive fielding numbers and a 103 wRC+ over 335 plate appearances. If you ask me, some recent Brendan Ryan impersonations are going to artificially inflate the perception of his defense value, and he’s not really much of a shortstop for a team that’s serious about preventing runs. But are these Mariners serious about preventing runs? They are not, is the answer. These Mariners are (were) not serious about anything except solo home runs, and tons of ’em.
In conclusion, the 2013 Mariners gave Endy Chavez and Michael Morse a combined 586 plate appearances and were rewarded with -2.5 WAR. Kendrys Morales and Kyle Seager were the only individual players to accumulate more playing time than the pseudo-platoon that those two formed. Kelly Shoppach lead all Mariners catchers in WAR, at 0.4, which ties him with Nick Franklin and Justin Smoak, who are probably being viewed as long term solutions. 0.4 WAR also represents the sixth-highest total among position players. The Mariners gave over 1,000 plate appearances to players who were below replacement level. Bless this mess.