Close, but no help
The frustrating part for Mariners fans has to be that this team is pretty close to breaking through. The other teams in the division are tough. Houston is still Houston and Oakland has good young talent. The Angels have Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. Finally, the Texas Rangers are in a transition but have good players in the minors. Seattle has a solid team, but where do they go from here.
The part that would irk me is the fact that the farm system is pretty bare. It ties their hands when trying to make trades for impact players. Seattle doesn’t have the glut of homegrown players coming through their system like Houston, Boston, and New York had recently. As a result, this is a team that is close but have limited resources to improve the club.
The other issue is starting pitching. Are the Mariners really going to rely on Wade LeBlanc, Mike Leake, and a declining Felix Hernandez? Can they go out and get a big name pitcher via free agency with the eighth highest payroll? Can they trade for one with only one prospect in the top 100? That is a huge stumbling block that will result in another missed opportunity in 2019.
The Mariners have the dominant closer in Diaz, but can they get consistent starting pitching. A closer can’t do his work if there isn’t a pitching staff ahead of him to bring him the lead. That’s a problem.