The 2015 Seattle Mariners: Is This a Playoff Team?


Jun 24, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano (22) warms up before a game against the Kansas City Royals at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Is anyone else having a hard time getting a read on the 2015 Seattle Mariners? I know that I am.

As fans, we want to be optimistic about the future. There are phases of a franchise where objective fans are faced with the reality that winning is not going to happen right away. Then there are moments where the expectations start to rise, and anticipation turns to a combination of intrigue and hope.

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We had some of those moments at the end of last season. The Mariners came very close to making the playoffs, and that was followed up with all sorts of positive predictions leading into this season. Unfortunately, the predictions just swapped two teams. Namely, the Mariners and the Houston Astros. The M’s are supposed to be 10 games over .500, while the Astros languish at the bottom of the American League West.

I guess someone didn’t get the memo.

Let’s get back to the original question. Is this a playoff team? By the numbers the Mariners are obviously not in contention right now. But, thanks to the preseason rankings, there are probably a number of fans waiting for Seattle to make their move…whatever that means.

The problem is that the moves have been brief and unsustained. We can crunch all the sabermetics we want, but it still comes down to winning streaks. Seattle has one four-game winning streak this season, and two three-game winning streaks. That’s it. In other words, one step forward, two steps back. That is how you compile a 33-40 record.

Have their been bright spots? Certainly. Despite some rough starts of late, Felix Hernandez is still the King. Nelson Cruz has slowed down a bit but he is still having an All-Star season. Taijuan Walker is really picking up the pace. Mike Montgomery has been a nice surprise, particularly in his last start.

The problem is that other issues do not seem to be getting better. Robinson Cano just doesn’t seem to be coming around, at least not quickly. Mark Trumbo has had a horrible start as a Mariner. Mike Zunino continues to rack up the strikeouts and his backup, Jesus Sucre, is hitting .043 for the season. No, that is not a typo. As a team, the Mariners rank 28th in the league with a .294 OBP.

We are still in June and this is not a lost season. This team still has great potential, but the play has been definitively uneven.

I wrote this earlier in the season, and it hasn’t changed. The Mariners just seem like they are waiting for something. Here is hoping that they do not wait too long.