Here's why ESPN's harsh grade of the Mariners' offseason is wrong

ESPN came out with grades for every team's offseason as the MLB heads into the 2024 season. The Mariners' grade is wrong, and here are the reasons why.

Detroit Tigers v Seattle Mariners
Detroit Tigers v Seattle Mariners / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

Opening Day is now just two weeks away! Virtually every national media site is throwing out their predictions and offseason grades. SoDo Mojo is no different, expect ours within the next two weeks. But for today, we are going to talk about ESPN's harsh grade for your Seattle Mariners, and why they are dead wrong in their assessment. Or are they?

David Schoenfield, of ESPN, wrote an article where he graded all 30 teams on their offseason moves, or lack thereof. You can read that article here, and it is a good one. It is behind a paywall, so you will need to have ESPN+ to view it. He was harsh on the Mariners' ownership and front office, which is totally understandable.

David Schoenfield gave the Mariners offseason a C.

In the title, I called this a harsh grade. So, how can a C be harsh? C's get degrees, right? Well, for starters, the Mariners did cut payroll this offseason, about $4 million from 2023's payroll. Even with adding talent, they still managed to cut payroll. Is that the only reason?

The Mariners added talent, for sure. Mitch Garver, Jorge Polanco, Luke Raley, and Mitch Haniger are not scrubs. Sure, they come with some question marks, but who are they filling in for from last season? Teoscar Hernandez, Eugenio Suarez, and Jarred Kelenic all struggled in 2023. Hernandez took a step backward, and Suarez looked like he was about to crater at any minute. Kelenic has not shown anything at the Major League level yet, except for inconsistency.

The Mariners had a revolving door of terrible play from the DH in 2023, so what am I missing? Yeah, the two Mitch's come with injury concerns. But the Mariners have some depth in Dominic Canzone, Cade Marlowe, and others who can fill in if need be. Should they miss significant time, then yeah. The Mariners could be in trouble. But injuries are impossible to predict, so nailing their grade off of that seems wrong to me.

The Mariners were able to keep their entire starting rotation from last year intact, something that nobody thought would happen. The bullpen looks good, minus some injuries to start off the year. If this team can stay healthy, it can compete with the Astros and the Rangers. Are they better than those two teams? No, not yet. But they are good enough to compete with them, and a few moves here or there at the deadline, who knows.

He criticized ownership, and that I understand. We do not know the full story, but it seems like the front office had a plan, and ownership came in at the last minute and ripped the carpet out from under them. It took some time, but Jerry and Co. put together a fine offseason. This roster, from top to bottom, is better than 2023's.

What grade would I give ownership? F-. But it is impressive what the front office did with the constraints put on them. This may be the best lineup the Mariners have put together in what, 5 years? And they didn't have to get the lineup better by taking away any of the starting rotation. For that, I give the Mariners offseason a solid B. Had they added a legit superstar, I would have given them an A. But for now, I am just excited to watch this team prove the National media wrong.

As always, Go Mariners!