The Seattle Mariners Shouldn’t Buy Or Sell


It’s the middle of June and the Seattle Mariners aren’t yet fully out of it. They’re not really close to the top of the division, and conceivably they’re within shouting range of a wild card spot. But realistically it’s pretty hard to see them making it to .500, let alone the playoffs. It’s a tough position to be in, especially for a team that was expected to be very much in the thick of things.

With the Mariners sinking towards the bottom of a league that continues to exhibit a pretty ridiculous amount of parity, one might note that this is exactly the kind of market where sellers would be most rewarded. It’s in the team’s best interest to sell now if they’re not going to be competing for a playoff spot. Though there’s also an argument that the AL’s current state should make the M’s a buyer. If everyone is just okay, why not try to rise to the top of the pack?

The Mariners probably aren’t good enough to justify making upgrades to their team, especially since their first two “big” moves have netted them one Mark Trumbo, who’s been terrible so far. But I don’t think the Mariners should take advantage of the current market conditions and sell. No, not this team. This team should stand pat.

It’s a tough sell, since it’s a lot less appealing to do nothing than it is to do something. This is a struggling team that could probably use a nice boost for the future. So why not sell off some spare parts at the deadline? Easy: Jack Zduriencik is still running the show.

Even after 2014’s successes, Jack Z was still a pretty questionable GM. One good season should never fully change your evaluation of an executive. But the same could be said about a bad season, though it’s safe to say this isn’t just a flukey bad season by a good team. The Mariners have been bad for almost all of Zduriencik’s tenure. This isn’t the Cardinals we’re talking about here.

If the M’s want to sell parts and retool for the future, that’s fine, and a good to-do list item for the offseason. After they get a new general manager, of course, which I’d hope is their current top priority. It probably isn’t, but I really wish it was. It ought to be, given Z’s continued failure to build a major league offense.

And that’s all it boils down to. The M’s goal, for as long as Zduriencik has been around, is to create a group of position players capable of giving the pitchers enough to win games. It’s worked twice in seven tries, and both times were plenty influenced by pure luck. No matter if the M’s can turn this season around, they will likely have failed to achieve a primary goal. Z’s book should be just about written by now.

Zduriencik probably should have been gone a long time ago, and that alone says that he should be tweaking this team as little as possible come July. That should be someone else’s job, for them to do later. It’s too much to ask the M’s to fire Z now and let a newcomer run the show at the trading deadline, so we’ll have to wait. Or at least we should have to wait, if this goes according to plan.

For all I know the Mariners are going to buy. They’ll make savvy moves and will themselves to the playoffs, and Zduriencik will be rewarded with a hearty contract extension. But they shouldn’t. Based on everything we currently know about this organization, it’s safe to say the next big move needs to be made off the field. That’s not going to happen this month or next, and so the Mariners should stand pat at the deadline. It might be boring, but it’s also the right thing to do.