It’s the third Friday of the month, which means it’s time for the monthly Seattle Mariners mailbag. You ask the questions and our Emerald City Swagger staff answers them.
Every third Friday of the month our Emerald City Swagger contributors answer your Seattle Mariners questions.
1) Do you think its a problem that Segura and Gordon are the only two Mariners with double-digit stolen bases?
Jordan Cordano – The Mariners started out the 2018 campaign with speed both in terms of piling up wins, and getting guys on, getting over, and getting in. Part of the team’s success early was the Mariners getting guys on like Dee Gordon, who at the start of the season was showing to be a solid leadoff man. Gordon had a lead leading 19 stolen bases through June 3rd. Since then he has had only 11. That was in large part due to Dee just not getting on base enough which is why we saw demoted to 9th in the order.
Segura has been relatively solid stealing bags this season, his 20 stolen bases are tied for 10th in the league, yet is his 20, if it stands, will be tied for his career low (2014). Relatively speaking, however, stolen bases are down across the league this year. Guys like Gordon who had 60 last year, as well as Billy Hamilton of the Reds (32), and Jose Altuve of the Astros (17) are all having career lows in that category.
So do I think it’s important? Yes, of course, but I would rather have a team that puts the ball in play so runners can go from first to third rather than have to rely on a player to steal 2nd.
Herb Nightingale – Right now, I believe it is a problem only because Gordon now is hitting at the bottom of batting order instead of leading off. It does help out Mitch Haniger leading off because he is able to get more fastballs when Gordon is on. This goes the same for Cano or whoever is at the plate when Segura on base.
If Haniger had double digits in stolen bases so he could be more of a threat. George Springer, the lead-off hitter for the Houston Astros, has only six stolen bases so the Mariners might not think its much of a problem. When Dipoto and Servais came on board, there was an issue of runners being caught off the bag at second and/or third base. So I see team speed more of an issue than double digits in stolen bases.
Matt Barry – I am of the mindset that stolen bases are extremely overrated. They are valuable in spots, but overall I would rather have good base running and timely hitting. The Oakland A’s are last in steals with only 35. The Yankees have just 61. They are both playoff teams. Now, Cleveland and Boston are near the top, but I do not think it’s necessary to have a bunch of base stealers. I would rather have guys with a high OPS and extra-base hits. I am also a fan of having everyone in the lineup as a homerun threat.
Jaymin Bernhardt – I don’t think that its too much of a problem. I think the game is changing in a way that makes the stolen base not nearly as important as it used to be. Teams just don’t run as much anymore. I actually would say that it is impressive the Seattle Mariners had two guys with as many stolen bases as they did.
Ed Stein – Its a reflection of how the game was played this year by the Seattle Mariners. Manager Scott Servais did run that much, which I think was a mistake. The M’s played for the big inning too often when they would have been better off playing small ball.
Get the leadoff runner on, steal second (unless it’s Nelson Cruz), move the runner to third with either a bunt or hit and run. Then its runner on third and one out. When a team goes into a hitting slump, as the Mariners did, sometimes it’s a good way to generate runs.