Thank you, Dipoto: Why rebuilding was never an option for Mariners
By Tyler Wicke
The Mariners GM spoke to the media shortly after the end of the regular season. When asked if rebuilding was a possibility after missing the postseason yet again, he told reporters “it doesn’t make a lot of sense.”
Thank God. Though many believe that a rebuild is necessary for future success, I think the Mariners will have a legitimate shot at contention in 2019.
Before you make any assumptions, I am not the senseless fan that shouts “this is our year!” before opening night every April (maybe I am, but that’s beside the point). I try to approach Seattle’s success with skepticism because of low expectations numb the pain of disappointment.
Seattle would make a huge mistake in trading away young stars in hopes of receiving prospects that may (or may not) pay dividends in the future.
If Seattle were to rebuild, players like outfielder Mitch Haniger would almost certainly suit up in a new city next season, and that cannot happen. Regardless of the situation, there is no reason to give away (arguably) your best player, especially when he is just 27.
The Mariners are also stuck with the contracts of aging veterans such as Kyle Seager and Robinson Cano. Seager, who is coming off the worst offensive season of his career, is due $19 million next season. Cano is due $24 million in each of the next five years. And let us not forget about Felix Hernandez, who will receive $27 million for the 2019 campaign.
My point is this: if Seattle were to rebuild, it would be impossible to trade away Cano, Seager, or Felix. With a few years left in their contracts, the best option is to contend in the meantime.
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Though the Mariners need to keep their core to contend next year, I have one exception regarding the best reliever in baseball: Edwin Diaz.
Seattle should trade Edwin Diaz. Coming off the second-best season by a closer in history (in terms of saves), the Mariners could get an insane amount of talent for him. Seattle would keep their core, bolster the farm, and Alex Colome becomes your everyday closer. Let’s not forget that Colome led the Majors in saves in 2017.
There is no promise that Diaz will dominate hitters as he did in 2018. Selling high when he is most valuable could be the right move.
If the Mariners were to rebuild, several players would be moved. Haniger, Segura, Gamel are just a few names that would likely find a new team, and that cannot happen after an 89-win season.
89 wins would have made the playoffs in 3 of the past 4 seasons. Seattle had a winning record versus every team in their division. Despite a disappointing end to 2018, we cannot overlook their success and tear down the franchise.
An atrocious two-month stretch of baseball to end the season for Seattle and an outrageous final half of the season for the Oakland Athletics were the only factors that held the Mariners from a postseason appearance.
Though some wanted a rebuild, Seattle will head into 2019 eyeing a postseason appearance. This is our year!