A recent Forbes survey determined that 68% of the 1,000 participants, or roughly 680 people, felt pressured to set a New Year's resolution. I've never subscribed to the New Year's resolutions crowd. It could be my rampant skepticism or lack of willpower to follow through on a promise made under the influence of the holiday season. Let's say the Mariner organization is in that 68% pool; what would their goals be for 2024?
The Mariner's president of baseball operations, Jerry Dipoto, has taken some heat this season thanks to a disastrous end-of-the-year press conference. He's trending upward after inking Mitch Garver this past week, but there is still work to do to get this team over the hump and on the same level as the Astros and upstart Rangers.
"I vow to stop being cute with acquiring blocked prospects (Haniger, Canzone) and one-year stop gaps (Hernandez, Pollock, Wong) and pull the trigger on moves that will raise the floor of this team with high-upside, controllable players."- Dipoto's 2024 Resolution
That means getting uncomfortable and parting with top prospects or even proven pitching to land MLB-ready bats like Heston Kjerstad, Sal Frelick, and Xavier Edwards.
The Mariner's skipper has been with the team for eight seasons, so we have a solid sample size to judge his performance. One playoff appearance in eight years and at least 88 wins over the past three years doesn't look bad on a coaching resume, but there is more. Servais has been both lauded for using the bullpen and chastised for using the bench. Bringing Mike Ford and his 32.3% strikeout rate off the bench in the 9th inning multiple times with the team down on the scoreboard, only doing his best "Casey at Bat" impersonation, starting Sam Haggerty because he 'mashes lefties,' and sending Jose Caballero when the whole world knows the pinch runner is going, are all Scott Servais decisions last season.
"I vow to build a better team in Peoria by having the guts to make the tough decisions if youngsters like Ryan Bliss, Tyler Locklear, et al outplay veterans destined for a bench role."- Servais' 2024 resolution
Raising this team's floor by building a better bench with more upside is possible if Servais is willing to forgo running it back with a bench comprised of quad-A players like Dylan Moore, Jose Caballero, Mike Ford, and Sam Haggerty.
The Mariner's majority owner, John Stanton, has been a common name in fan's X timeline this offseason for all the wrong reasons. The narrative gained steam when reports revealed that Stanton is squeezing the wallet this offseason due to the Root Sports Northwest debacle despite the team ranking in the Top 10 in home attendance in 2023.
"I vow to run this team with the on-field product in mind more than the profits because building a better team directly affects the bottomline. "- Stanton's 2024 resolution.
Stanton is missing the back half of that resolution this winter. Realizing the common thread between creating a viable team and profits is critical. Now, do I trust him to do so? Not so much.
The odds for these three to follow through are just about as good as me avoiding a sleeve of Oreo's at midnight. As the calendar turns to 2024 and you lay out your resolutions, remember a new year brings hope even when Dipoto, Servais, and Stanton have a track record of mixed results. We're only human, resolutions be damned.