One other thing to consider is the farm system. The Mariners have just one prospect in the top 100 (OF Kyle Lewis #80). Therefore, there isn’t much coming through the pipeline that would provide offensive punch, nor are there the assets needed to trade for a middle of the order bat.
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This bears the question: Do the Mariners try to win now or rebuild to win in five years? The answer should be to try to add a couple of pieces to win now. Seattle can use the Athletics as their example as to how they can put a contender together.
The A’s surprised many with their march to a Wild Card. They have a middle of the order bat in Khris Davis. All the more reason to keep Cruz.
As the Mariners enter the offseason, the focus should be on adding pieces to finish the deal and overcome the Astros and A’s in the NL West.
Competition to make the playoffs is fierce with either Boston or New York being a perennial wild card contender, while the other wins the AL East.
Either Toronto or Tampa could contend for the other A.L. playoff spot from the east as they are both up and comers. Who knows what happens with the Central Division. Cleveland seems like a lock, and Minnesota is having a down year, but are in contention with Paul Molitor at the helm.
The Seattle Mariners should target Oakland first. If they can re-sign Cruz and add a pitcher, Seattle may be able to make its first postseason since losing to the Yankees in the 2001 ALCS. Big bats are not easy to come by and usually cost a pretty penny.