The Mariners are going to be really good in the near future. But which teams are they likely to face in the postseason in the coming years? Maybe Seattle making the playoffs in 2021 isn’t going to happen (or heck, maybe it will)? But by 2022, the Mariners being in the postseason should be expected.
Of course, there will be other sharks in the postseason waters too. These teams will be trying to keep the M’s from winning the franchise’s first World Series, or possibly multiple World Series, fingers crossed. While Seattle has a loaded farm system, there are other teams in the American League like them.
So who are these teams that in the future Mariners fans will grow to loathe due to a possibly newfound rivalry? (And let’s be real, we Seattle baseball fans are ready to find a team to dislike because that team is a titan of baseball just as we want our Mariners to be.)
Future teams Mariners will be competing against to win a World Series
I am going to keep this American League-centric. We can probably assume the Dodgers are going to be good every year moving forward and possibly teams like the Braves too. But Seattle will only play meaningful games against those teams in the World Series. Seattle has to first get to the Series.
The Twins are a good franchise for Seattle to mimic and have the same kind of geographical obstacles. Neither team plays in New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago and needs to generate money in different ways than just a huge media market. The Twins decided to build through their farm system, just as Seattle is trying to do, and they have found success.
After finishing last in the AL Central four times in six seasons, the Twins slowly began to rebuild and ended up winning 101 games in 2019 and have finished first the last two years. They did add the odd veteran player here and there but mostly the core of the Twins are homegrown players like Luis Arraez and Byron Buxton. And the Twins farm system still ranks as the 12th-best in baseball, according to MLB.com.
Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays are probably the team that Seattle envies most. Tampa Bay has an awful stadium and no money (compared to their AL East foes the Red Sox and Yankees) and yet they have only finished last in their division once since 2007. And even though they finished third in 2018, they still won 90 games.
The Rays have a very young core of both positions players and pitchers and their farm system is the best in baseball. Mariners fans should get used to a lot of future postseason trips to watch Seattle play the Rays.
Of course, the teams that the Mariners will mostly be competing with will be the teams in their own division. But here is the great thing, Seattle fans. Every other team in the AL West has a bottom-third farm system. Seattle is in much better shape for future success if all breaks correctly with health and assumed production of prospects, than anyone else in the division.
Sure, the Athletics will find a way to have winning seasons for no real reasons, the Astros will find a new way to cheat, the Angels will find a way to underachieve and the Rangers will find a way to be perennially mediocre. The Mariners will still have to climb over them all to get to the playoffs but by the look of it, the Mariners should win their division soon and multiple times.