We are past the point of panic with the Seattle Mariners. They are now 25-32, 8.5 games behind Houston in the American League West, and ahead of only the Oakland Athletics in the entire American League.
The reasons for the struggles of this proportion are too diverse to pinpoint, but veterans like Robinson Cano and Fernando Rodney have to be where the blame starts. Rodney has an ERA over 6.94 and a WHIP of 1.76. As of late, he has been even worse, giving up 12 earned runs in his last 13 appearances, while giving up at least one run in nine of those appearances. Remind me again of how he kept a job for this long. Fortunately, his two-year $14 million contract is up after this season. However, the same cannot be said of Robinson Cano.Aug 18, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano (22) blows a bubble gum bubble after striking out in the eight inning of a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
The M’s are still on the hook for $200 million after signing Robbie in December of 2013. And after only one year in Seattle, his career is already taking a downward turn. It should be noted that he did get off to a decent start in 2015, but he is hitting .218/.262/.269 over the past six weeks. Six weeks is not enough to declare his time as an All-Star second basemen is over, but he has been as bad as you can be over that stretch.
It also should be noted, that there could be something going on behind the scenes with Cano. His mind doesn’t appear to be in it with base-running and defensive errors galore in 2015, to go with his struggles at the plate. If that is the case, then a turnaround would seem likely once he gets refocused.
Nelson Cruz, Kyle Seager and Seth Smith have been the only semblances of a half-way decent offense so far this season. Fortunately, Austin Jackson appears to be joining that group, hitting .378/.404/.578 during the 2-9 homestand. Then there is Logan Morrison and Brad Miller who haven’t been terrible, but the rest of the team is hovering around a .200/.260/.320 slashline. The Mariners’ pitching has been decent as of late, but nowhere near as dominant as they were in 2014. And with the hitting somehow worse, the Mariners have turned into the disaster that they are.
It is only one-third of the way through the 2015, so there still is obviously mathematical hope. 88 wins was the threshold last year. The Mariners would have to go 63-43 (.594) the rest of the way, which would probably the best in baseball over that span. Right now, this team is only a few losses from being the worst team in baseball. However, Seattle was picked as a World Series favorite by reputable people in the world of baseball prior to April. They have the talent and potential to win six out of every ten, but something drastic would have to happen.
With Cruz and Cano well into their 30’s, there doesn’t appear to be too much hope for the future either, unless Miller, Dustin Ackley, Mike Zunino, D.J. Peterson, Ketel Marte and Alex Jackson develop like they should. But since when have Mariner position-player prospects ever developed like they should? Seager being the obvious exception.
Barring a turnaround of epic proportions, 2015 is over. And if this talented of a roster can’t break the curse of dysfunction that Howard Lincoln, Chuck Armstrong and Jack Zduriencik have brought upon the Seattle Mariners, I don’t see any that can.