The baseball history buff in me always reverts to those late 80s early 90s Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs teams, mainly because our cable package includes TBS and WGN. The game has changed mightily since then, but there are a few timeless similarities, one being the need for a balanced lineup. For example, the 1989 Cubs had power bats in Andre Dawson and Ryne Sandberg; their lineup included Mark Grace, Dwight Smith, and Lloyd McClendon, all contact hitters.
While strikeouts have become a part of the game, there is still a need to have players who can put the ball in play. Having a power threat or three in the lineup is excellent. Still, there must be some bat-to-ball skills on the roster because those contact-orientated hitters turn the solo homerun into a three-run homer, arguably the great equalizer in current baseball. Unfortunately, this team has too many three-outcome players on the roster, as referenced by the swing-and-miss up and down the lineup.
A graphic made its way around Twitter a few weeks ago highlighting the Top 10 players in the American League in strikeouts. Four Mariners were on the list (Eugenio Suarez, Jarred Kelenic, Julio Rodriguez, and Teoscar Hernandez). Since then, the team has ratcheted down their focus, and the approach has improved.
While this is a welcome development, this team still needs contact hitters to balance the offense. If the team can succeed over the next month, look for President of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto to swing a trade for someone who can put the bat on the ball. Digging into the crystal ball, Jake Croenenworth, LaMont Wade Jr., and Mike Yazstremski could be available by this deadline. Add one of those players to J.P Crawford, Jose Caballero, and to an extent, Ty France, and this lineup looks a lot more balanced. Where's Mark Grace when we need him?