Why The Mariners MUST Spend Big This Off-Season
It has been well documented over the past few weeks, that most of us here are hoping for a massive rebuild. However, I have yet to speak to a single person who believes the Mariners will do it.
In fact, most Mariners fans and analyst seems to think GM Jerry Dipoto will stick to the status quo and continue to nibble around the edges. However, the team cannot stick to the strategy that hasn’t produced anything of consequence. And since the team won’t rebuild, they only have 1 option: go big.
No, going big likely won’t work. Too many things can go wrong, and for the Mariners to make up the distance between themselves and the Yankees, Red Sox, Astros, Indians, and possibly the A’s, Rays, and Twins, they need things to go right. Even this year, a lot of things went right for Seattle. The starting staff was insanely healthy, Haniger continued his breakout, and Edwin Diaz went into “God Mode”.
Sure, Cano was suspended and Seager bombed. But most of what could go right for the team in 2018, did go right. And yet, they aren’t close to playing in meaningful October baseball. But trying to build a super team on the fly hardly ever works, and the Mariners don’t have copious amounts of money to sustain long-term.
So why go all-in knowing these factors? Because statistically, it’s the smartest thing they can do. Think of it this way: the franchise is at the blackjack table of the American league. Right now, they have a 16. It’s not a terrible hand on its own. You could win a fair share of hands with a 16.
However, the power brokers of the AL, in our metaphor the “dealer”, is showing a 7. Statistically speaking, the Mariners optimal strategy is to hit or ask for another card to try and hit 21. The danger in this is that the overwhelming odds are that you bust. However, if you don’t hit, you’ll lose the hand 75% of the time. If you do, you’ll lose the hand about 64% of the time.
So yes, even if the Mariners do hit (go all in) with their current roster (the hand of 16), it is still highly unlikely that they’ll beat the dealer (NYY, BOS, HOU, CLE, etc,). However, and 10-15% increase in your chances is a risk you have to take.
So why won’t the Mariners hit? Statistically speaking, a 10%-15% increase in your odds is significant. The simple answer is human nature. Most people won’t hit on the 16 vs a 7 because they don’t want to bust. They’d rather the dealer have to play his hand out.
Dipoto won’t hit, because he is hoping the dealer will bust himself. In other words, he thinks he is playing it safe. In all reality, he is significantly lowering his odds of winning the hand. Also, by not hitting, he guarantees he won’t get the 5 to make 21 (win a world series).
So yes, the Mariners are stuck in no man’s land. If they are unwilling to retreat and live to fight another day, then they must charge ahead, or forever be stuck in baseball purgatory.