We continue our Seattle Mariners “My Guy” series. But rather than a traditional article about why we like a guy, let’s act out this two-person play.
Negative Nick(bad Mariners fan): Hey Pete, you also sad about football season ending?
Positive Pete: Sure am, not sure if I’m ready for the sports dark period.
NN: Luckily, time flies.
PP: Speaking of sports, what about the Mariners?
NN: What about the Mariners?
PP: Hello, their season starts in a couple of months! Who is your Mariners guy?
NN: My Mariners guy?
PP: You know. Your x-factor? Your dark horse Mariner. The one who will quietly get things done and make a big impact on the team.
NN: I have no idea. I need a few weeks to think about it.
PP: Well I know who mine is. Kyle.
NN: That’s not the only reason why he’s your guy, is it?
PP: It’s one of the reasons. I have a soft spot for a player who’s been with us as long as Seager has. I’m rooting for him to find his stroke again.
NN: I don’t know. I just have doubts. Remember Felix’s decline? We were all hoping that his struggles were temporary. Some kind of a rough patch.
PP: Your point?
NN: My point is that look how that worked out. Felix was one of the best pitchers the Mariners had. But he lost his stuff and hit a steady decline for his last several seasons.
PP: That’s a moot point, Nick. Every player is different. Sometimes a player can come around. It’s unfortunate about Felix’s last few Mariner seasons. But Kyle Seager is not Felix Hernandez. I haven’t lost faith. He still has it in him.
NN: Has what in him? Has he ever been an MVP?
PP: We shouldn’t expect an MVP. We should expect someone who simply gets things done during the season. Someone who you know has a great chance to produce in the clutch.
NN: Are we talking about the same player here?
PP: We sure are. It’s true that Seager has struggled and not played up to his contract the past couple of years. But he’s an excellent defensive third baseman and has some past hitting highlights. Remember 2013 when he hit a game-tying grand slam with two outs in the 14th inning?! Dave Sims described it as “unreal”, which it was. Or what about his walk-off homer in 2014 to end a big losing streak and get the season back on track?
NN: I guess I do now.
PP: You may forget that Kyle was an All-Star that same season with a .268 average, 25 homers, and just shy of 100 RBI’s.
NN: Oh boy, Pete. a .268 average. Is that the best he has done in his career?
PP: Nope. Two seasons later his batting average finished at exactly 10 points higher and for the first time in his career, he knocked 30 home runs.
NN: That’s all great, Pete, except you’re forgetting a key fact. He hasn’t had a good batting average since that 2016 season. Wake up, it’s 2020! His batting average from 2017-19? A measly .236. You sure you don’t want Kyle Lewis as your guy?
PP: Not at all. I like the guy but we need to show loyalty to Seager. We can’t give up on him just yet. And put an asterisk around 2019. He missed a good chunk of time with a hand injury for crying out loud. It’s not like your hands are vital for throwing or hitting a baseball. Players take time to recover from inury. You’re also forgetting that when Kyle returned last year, he had a hot streak going on. He showed glimpses of the Kyle Seager that the Mariners drafted. He just needs to break out of this funk and be consistent.
NN: But is it really a slump if it’s lasted three years?
PP: We don’t know. How can we? Now if Kyle’s struggles continue for the next couple seasons, then you have my attention about moving on. But he may just need to be coached a different way. I’m sick of the team giving up on players and them thriving elsewhere. We can’t give up just yet. I’m a Seager Believer! You should be one too.