SEAside Thoughts: Mariners Bit Big by Injury Bug in Week 24

Mariners SEAside Thoughts: Week 24

“Hey, that Ohtani guy is pretty good. We should try to sign him again.”

-Hopefully Jerry Dipoto 

  • After the emotional surge from their series victory over the defending champion Atlanta Braves, the Mariners struggled in the two series that followed, splitting with the San Diego Padres and going 1-3 against the Los Angeles Angels.
  • The week wasn’t great, but that monstrous Grand Slamtana and the solo cherry on top yesterday by Carlos Santana was a huge boost to a club that desperately needed some juice.
  • Santana frustrates people. I get it, especially considering he may have kept Seattle from getting another needed at-bat at the deadline. At the end of the day, Santana has a track record of getting on base, and apparently turns into David Ortiz when Seattle needs him the most. That bat and leadership will play in October.
  • Obviously, the disappointing record has a lot to do with good play by the opposing team, and bad play by Seattle. The thing that is most concerning though, is the injuries that are starting to overwhelm the team.
    • Eugenio’s finger injury is absolutely brutal. You can make a strong case that he’s been the best hitter this year, other than Julio. While there is hope he may be back before the playoffs, it’s a shame to lose such a powerful and hot hitter, as well as his gold glove caliber defense at the corner.
    • Julio being out feels like some rest, but anything with the back is concerning.
    • The same for Cal Raleigh. I believe his absence is mostly due to just rest, but this ball club is completely different when he’s catching and slugging.
    • We still haven’t seen the consistent Ty France and Mitch Haniger Seattle needs to advance in October. With all these players hurt, now is the time for them to step up. We saw some power return to France in LA, hopefully, there’s consistency with it.

ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 19: Julio Rodriguez #44 of the Seattle Mariners reacts to a teammate during the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 19, 2022 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • The injuries suck, especially if Seattle loses Suarez for longer than hoped, but there is a path to where this is a blessing in disguise. As the standings currently sit, the Mariners are in the 6th seed and look almost…almost…a lock for a playoff spot. While being the 4th seed and hosting a wildcard series would be dope, there may be a case that the 6th seed is the best route to a Mariners deep playoff run.
  • The uneven play and injuries are a bit of a bummer right now, but it pales in comparison to the absolute implosion of Jesse Winker. This dude was voted by MLB Network as the best-left fielder in all of baseball coming into the season. Winker had an OPS+ of 142 last year, and it has fallen to 101 this year, that’s a ridiculous drop in quality. The number would likely be in the low 70s if he wasn’t terrific at drawing walks. His -0.4WAR is also a credit to his biggest contribution right now, helping the other team score runs as the worst, and I truly do mean the worst, defensive outfielder in all of baseball this year. There’s a legitimate case that Seattle wins two more games against the Angels if Winker isn’t in the field.
  • It’s a legitimate problem for the present and the future. Winker is nearly unplayable right now and is an abomination in the field. I believe the Mariners need to put him on the IL for 10 days and tell him to just rest, reset, and be ready to come back for the final week of the season.
    • The Mariners should then call up Jarred Kelenic, and give him one last opportunity to help this team in 2022. Right now Kelenic has continued to play well in Tacoma. If he sucks with the bat, he’s equal to Winker on offense, minus the walking. On the defensive side, Kelenic is world’s better in the field, as well as providing some plus speed.
    • If it doesn’t work, then you likely are going to the playoffs as the 6th seed, and you have a guy in Winker that you can lean on to get a walk when needed.
    • If it does work, and Kelenic feasts on some bad teams in the final two weeks, you may have added the ultimate wildcard to your postseason roster.
  • Enough negative, the future of the Mariners is so strong, and a huge part of that is because of Logan Gilbert and George Kirby. We’ve praised them all year, but they just continue to get better. They may have lost to guys like Yu Darvish and Shohei Ohtani, but they went to battle against them and stood their ground. The Mariners have the best rotation in the American League and are going to have some elite youngsters getting that valuable postseason experience.
  • This week’s SEAside Thoughts Player of the Week is Logan Gilbert. Two games started, eleven innings, two runs, and sixteen strikeouts. Gilbert wants the ball in the postseason.

ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 19: Catcher Curt Casali #5 and pitcher Logan Gilbert #36 of the Seattle Mariners celebrate at the end of the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 19, 2022 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • This week’s Mariners Music Mojo is Lift Off by Labrinth
  • The Mariners head to Oakland at 81-65, with a 5-game lead in the Orioles for the final spot, and are just 1.5 games back of hosting the wildcard series.
  • They’re almost home…go M’s!