SEAside Thoughts: Mariners Honor Legend, Disarm Guardians

Mariners SEAside Thoughts Week 21

“Chicks who dig home runs aren’t the ones who appeal to me. I think there’s sexiness in infield hits because they require technique. I’d rather impress the chicks with my technique than with my brute strength. Then, every now and then, just to show I can do that, too, I might flirt a little by hitting one out.”

— Ichiro Suzuki

  • Julio contract extension
    • This is big friends
    • This may be the most important achievement the Seattle Mariners have accomplished since 2001’s ALDS victory, I’m not joking.
    • The Mariners are at the doorstep of their first postseason appearance in over twenty years, and this would not even be close to possible if Seattle didn’t have the historic rookie leading the charge.
    • The face of the Seattle Mariners, and soon the face of Major League Baseball, agreed to a massive extension that will keep Julio in Seattle for the majority of the next decade, and possibly for the rest of his career.
    • Like all business dealings with this regime, we hear nothing until it happens, and that was the case yet again on Friday. Fresh off of his record-setting 20/20 accomplishment, the baseball world shook when the news of his extension broke.
    • This deal is one of the most unique in baseball history. At its core, you’re looking at a 12-year deal worth over $200 million, with a legitimate path to it becoming a 17-year deal worth over $450 million. That would be the largest contract in baseball history.
      This contract is an absolute win-win for both sides. Julio got a great deal with security while having incentives to chase that could turn his contract into a mega one as he continues to dominate baseball.
    • The Seattle Mariners win by locking up their most prized asset in a generation, for a generation. The salary isn’t backbreaking, and many will say the deal is a bigger win for the Mariners. Time will tell, but there’s no denying this in the short term. Julio will have a salary of $4 million next year and $10 million the next before a consistent $18 for a half decade.
    • The Seattle Mariners can’t blow this, go get some stars to add to Julio, there’s no excuse…and I’m looking at you Shohei…
  • Best of Robbie Ray
    • Right now the Mariners pitching rotation appears to be all on fire at the same time, and it is a site to behold.
    • When Luis Castillo was acquired, the thought was that Castillo would take the title of a true Ace. And while he has been fantastic, it appears that the “Ace” title is not something Robbie Ray wants to give up easily. In a 4-2 week, it started and ended with Ray dominating and keeping Seattle in playoff position.
    • In his two starts, Ray went 2-0, throwing 13.2 innings pitched and only giving up 1 run on 5 hits as he struck out 14 batters. In what may be the most important stat of all, Ray only walked two batters total in his two starts. This version of Robbie Ray is Cy Young level, and could drastically change the ceiling of this team come playoff time.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – AUGUST 28: Pitcher Robbie Ray #38 of the Seattle Mariners reacts in the sixth inning against the Cleveland Guardians at T-Mobile Park on August 28, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

  • The continued frustration against the cellar dwellers
    • As great as it was to see Robbie Ray smoke the Nationals, it was equally frustrating to watch this Mariners club fall flat against Anibal Sanchez and the lowly Washington Nationals.
    • The split put the Mariners at just 6-5 against the bottom of the AL West and Nationals. They were fortunate to keep a playoff spot, but after nearly two weeks of baseball that Seattle could have really used an 8-3 stretch.
    • Hopefully the next time Seattle is in this position (final 20 games of the year), they’re ready.
  • A celebration of Ichiro Suzuki
    • It was a beautiful celebration for a legend of baseball. Ichiro has always been unique, obsessed with greatness and the game itself.
    • I started watching baseball in 2000, just before Ichiro joined the Mariners. It was a weird time in the history of Seattle baseball. The Mariners were in their most successful run of the franchise, but nearly all of the stars had left. It appeared the team had missed their chance.
    • In comes Ichiro, a rookie of the year, something out of Star Wars, an MVP, and one of the most impressive seasons by a team in baseball history. Ichiro was a star and it looked like the future was bright.
    • Ichiro stayed great and broke records, but the lack of team success always felt like it kept Ichiro from getting his proper dues. It’s a bummer, but it also made his induction speech and honors so special.
    • Ichiro is the greatest hitter I’ve ever seen, he’s the true hit champion. He was never properly loved by baseball fans, but he was loved by Mariners fans. Thank you so much for everything, Ichiro Suzuki.

SEATTLE, WA – MAY 02: Ichiro Suzuki #51 of the Seattle Mariners comes up for his last at-bat of the 2018 season in the ninth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Safeco Field on May 2, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. The Oakland Athletics won 3-2. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

  • Mariners win a playoff style series
    • As disappointing as the Nationals split was, the series win over the Cleveland Guardians was huge. Every single game felt like a playoff game, and how big was it to see that the Mariners showed up in front of massive crowds.
    • We talked about Robbie Ray, but how about the pitching in this series. Marco, Gilbert, Castillo, and Ray combined for a 1.42ERA over 25.1 innings with 23 K’s and only 2 walks. This doesn’t take into account the pitching machine George Kirby who pitched well enough to win on Wednesday.
    • The crew is rolling, and if they keep this up, Seattle should be in a great spot to secure the #4 seed and home-field advantage in the Wild Card Series.
  • Scraping by on O
    • For Seattle to take three out of four in an electric atmosphere was incredible. To see them win while getting very little from their offense continues to be a double-edged sword.
    • Looking at it from the negative side. This team just can’t seem to put it offensively together for a continuous stretch. I’m not even talking about games, I’m talking about innings! This team beat the AL Central leaders by getting 4,8,3, and 4 hits in 38 innings. That is terrible, yet wild Seattle won the series. Another testament to the pitching, and good to know that Seattle could possibly go into a series and walk out a winner with some stellar pitching, that has been pretty consistent all year (minus Houston…sigh).
      At the end of the day though, it’s just not sustainable and the offense needs to meet the pitching with the same level of play.
    • Julio has been erratic recently, Mitch has been a rock, and you know what you’re getting with Suarez. The rest of the lineup seems to be in a brutal funk.
    • Cal Raleigh seems to have fallen off of a cliff. But his catching is still stellar.
    • JP has looked lost for about three months. He needs a break, plus we saw what Dylan Moore can do when he gets a hold of one. Moore has been a plus hitter all year, and he may deserve some more playing time at both second and shortstop as long as Crawford and Frazier continue to scuffle.
  • Just in Tyme?
    • With the offense in need of a jolt, what a relief it was to see Ty France not only get a big hit in Sunday’s victory but an epic upper deck insurance home run.
    • It was classic Ty France. Good at bats, no swinging at pitches a foot out of the zone, and the occasional power that makes me think we’ll eventually see an MVP-level season from France.
    • The team says France is healthy. If this is the case, then it’s go time and it’s good to see him possibly coming around.
    • The Seattle Mariners currently sit in the #5th seed for a playoff spot with 34 games left to go. They’re a half game back of Tampa Bay and a half game of Toronto for the final spot, with a 2.5 game lead over Baltimore who sits on the outside, but their face is up against the glass looking in. If this pitching continues even remotely close to what we saw this week, and Ty can join Julio, Mitch, and Suarez in carrying the load, then the Mariners will be in the dance.
  • This week’s SEAside Thoughts Player of the Week is none other than Robbie Ray. Keep studding, stud!
  • This week’s Mariners Music Mojo is Natural Born Killer by Highly Suspect
  • Have a great week and Go M’s!