(1090 The Fan) — The Seattle Mariners’ 2013 campaign is in the books after a 71-91 finish. And, the offseason starts with an all-too-familiar managerial hunt.
The immediate positive that comes to mind when trying to take away anything good to come out of this year is that the ugly finish at least gives the team the number six pick in the 2014 MLB Draft.
But before trying to dig further for another gem, the elephant in the room needs to be addressed: The misery at 1st Ave South & Edgar Martinez Boulevard isn’t going anywhere.
New Year, Same…
Do we have yet another rebuilding year to look forward to? On Friday, Mariners manager Eric Wedge told the team he would not be returning. He would later say that his vision for the team didn’t align with the ones of general manager Jack Zduriencik and other members of the front office. From those comments, you can either assert Wedge’s young team was destined to fail in the near future or Zduriencik’s young team hasn’t been growing properly because of its on-the-field leader.
Either way, the Seattle mariners experience has become nothing more than a tourist attraction in the few warm weeks the city has during the summer.
Since the team’s last playoff appearance in 2001, there have been four winning seasons (out of 12), six managers and a slew of attendance totals that are terrifyingly-low for a city like Seattle.
On Monday, April 29, 9,818 people showed up to watch the Mariners host the Baltimore Orioles. On Monday, September 9, ten fewer people showed up to see the Astros win 6-4. Coincidentally, the Astros, who finished with 111 losses, only had a home attendance dip below 12,000 two times. There were seven instances when fewer than 12,000 showed up at Safeco Field.
The team’s leader in hits, Kendrys Morales, likely won’t be back if free agency treats him well — Morales is a client of Scott Boras. Morales had an admirable line for his year with Seattle (.277/.336/.449) — but consistency was a problem. After a red-hot May of launching five bombs and 23 RBIs, he went ice cold in June with just one home run, 9 RBIs and a batting average of .235. Anyway, if you take Morales out of the equation (assuming he opts to go to a contender that will give him more money), the Mariners are looking at a roster that features a .232 team batting average. (Not to keep going back to Houston, but the Astros, as a team, hit .240 in 2013.)
As stagnant as the offense has been for the past few years, nothing set back the Mariners more in 2013 than the pitching staff — particularly the bullpen.
No team threw more wild pitches in the American League than the Mariners and Angels (both tied at 74). Seattle also had 23 blown saves in 2013 — six shy of the Astros’ and Arizona Diamondbacks’ league -leading 29. In 66 save opportunities, Seattle blew it 45% of the time.
New Year, Same… (Part II)
Will Taijuan Walker mature quicker than we had anticipated? Will pitching coach Carl Willis be part of the 2014 club? Is it time for another blockbuster trade to change the scenery? Is Felix back on the trade rumor mill?
The questions may be slightly different from the end of 2012, but the feeling is the same: if there has been improvement, it’s not easy to find.
-Chris Coyle, 1090 The Fan