Man, those Astros’ sure are dirty cheaters, aren’t they? Regardless of how you feel about the scandal, it sounds as though MLB is close to the conclusion of their investigation. But how could this matter to the Mariners?
First and foremost, allow me to say that I think the Astros should be severely punished for what anybody will tell you is cheating. This isn’t a smart base-runner picking up a sequence from second base and relaying to his dugout. This is a straight-up cheat. But our focus on this site is the Seattle Mariners, so let’s talk about how it is relevant to us.
Obviously, since the Mariners play in the division against Houston 19 times a year, there is a very good chance that they have been victimized by Houston’s scandal, but there isn’t really recourse the Mariners can pursue for, lacking a better term, “victims compensation”.
But with a penalty expected to include loss of draft picks, fines, and suspensions, could the punishment actually benefit Seattle? Well, probably not. Because unless the Commissioner’s office is willing to levy unthinkable punishments on Houston, the fact remains that they will have a very good team for at least the next two years.
Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Yuli Gurriel, Zack Greinke, and Justin Verlander aren’t going anywhere. For now, Carlos Correa and George Springer are still on the roster as well. Houston is going to be good for a while. But what about after that? After the aging and now expensive core leaves Houston?
Now we are getting somewhere. Assuming the penalty includes massive draft pick reduction and international bonus pool sanctions, Houston is left with one course of action to replenish their rosters: trade.
Houston certainly has valuable players, but their farm system has taken a hit recently and is now in that awkward phase where the MLB roster is world series caliber, but their farm system lacks the replacements for free agents or the firepower to acquire stars in trade.
Houston cannot simply spend their way out that hole either. We already watched them lose Gerritt Cole in free agency and George Springer is highly likely to follow him after the 2020 season. The team is so limited financially, that the idea of trading Carlos Correa and Springer this winter has at least been discussed.
So the punishment of the Astros does impact the Mariners if draft pick loss is in play. However, it probably does little to change the Mariners 2021-2022 timeframe of beginning their competitive window.
So while the Astros’ punishment is unlikely to benefit the team in the near future, the long-term impact could be catastrophic to Houston. Whether the penalty amounts to a slap on the wrist or the closest baseball will come to a “death penalty” could greatly impact things, but overall, Mariners’ fans shouldn’t be too excited about the upcoming judgment.