Mariners Morning Musings: Complacency is dangerous
By Ty Gonzalez
Over the past couple of days, I’ve been very reluctant to give into a scenario in which the Mariners stand pat during the offseason. It scares me to death. Allow me to explain why in further detail.
I’ll be honest with you – I don’t want the Mariners to crack 90 wins by the week’s end. I think it’ll be more detrimental to this team’s future than it will help them. They’re already out of playoff contention, so why even bother?
Now, is there really a difference between, say, 87-89 wins and 90-plus wins? Yes, and no. The current win total the Mariners are at – 85 – is probably enough of a taste of success for Jerry Dipoto to see potential in the current team he has. However, 90 is a very powerful number that could manipulate Dipoto into believing there isn’t much to improve upon whatsoever.
As we’ve covered, if the Mariners were to reach the 90-win threshold this season, they’ll be the first team in the second wild card era to miss the playoffs despite such a high win total (unless the Rays also reach 90). If this were to happen, it’ll be the focal point of Dipoto’s reasoning for predominantly standing pat if that is the path he chooses to take.
We’ve seen Dipoto blatantly ignore glaring holes with unearned confidence in the past. Despite a clear gap in talent within their rotation and an obvious path to supplement the position this past offseason, Dipoto’s unwavering faith in his shaky rotation, which basically boiled down to “everything going right,” played a key role in the team’s eventual undoing this season.
Dipoto expresses himself as a realist, which makes it so confusing as to why he has continuously tried to push the envelope and try to build his roster solely through the trade market with very little prospect capital in his arsenal.
His unwillingness to swim through the free agent pool has to go out the door in 2019 now that anything of value from the Zduriencik era is gone and the top prospects he’s drafted and signed are in – for lack of a better term – development hell. Alternatively, they just haven’t earned the valuation that would line up for a deal worth parting with them for.
This doesn’t mean irresponsibly throwing countless dollars at the first player that returns interest. It’s simply a plea to be more aggressive in the market and having a willingness to commit future dollars, especially with Felix Hernandez’s $28 million salary coming off the books for the 2020 offseason.
The Mariners are a talented team. It’s not entirely a mistake that they are an 85-90 win team, though the number is a bit inflated due to the lack of competition in the American League as a whole.
Still, they’re good enough to be a middle-of-the-road team once again in 2019. But that’s all they will be if Dipoto and co. become complacent and fail to recognize the opportunity at hand. All that does is land you another mid-round pick in the draft, which rarely ever equates to a prospect that will immediately carry a high valuation.
At this point, I don’t really care if the Mariners go all-in on contending or go all-in on a rebuild. Just as long as they pick a road and fully commit to it.