Chris O'Day: The Mariners get a B- on the 2023 season
Well, we started off with a B- from Trevor, and it's where we are going to end as well. The Mariners still had a good season, but it was just a bit short of what we needed. I think this team was due for a little falloff, especially after mixing overperformance and luck the last two seasons. Personally, I believe you can make the argument that this team was the most talented one that has taken the field the last three seasons. Things just didn't fall their way.
I know that success in one leads to success in the other, as extra-inning games are normally close ones. It still proves a good point though. They were 26 games over 500 in one run games over the last two seasons, while going 13 games over 500 in extras. Say they go simply 6-7 games over .500 in one-run games this year, and that would put them at 29-22, or four games better. Still a few worse than the previous seasons, but they would've gone 92-70, and won the division by a couple of games.
Does that come from Sewald being gone? Possibly. I still like that trade, and think that the Mariners killed the two proverbial birds with one stone, getting solid prospects and offensive pieces in return for a position of strength on an aging player. Canzone and Rojas helped, both having big plays, and Bliss looks like a stud in the Minors.
I still don't know what to think about the offseason, and how they go about it. Is Dipoto really that limited in what he can do, causing him to only be able to trade for players? Are they that stingy above him that he isn't able to offer deals? The only reason we got Robbie Ray was because he literally called the Mariners and asked to come play for them. Otherwise, it's a whole lot of nothing on the front (office).
If you get average production from all the people who came in, it's a great season. Pollock was supposed to be able to platoon, Wong was pretty darn good, and then you still get that same Teo season. If it happens, you don't have to send out Sewald to Arizona, and the bullpen, which was stretched at the end, likely finishes in great fashion. Is it wild to predict that an average season from Wong and Pollock, and the Mariners end up with 93-95 wins? I don't think that's crazy.
I'm not going to rag on Jerry too much. Those moves should've worked. It's easy to be angry in hindsight, but at the time they seemed solid, even if they were still a bat short. Which, again, goes back to whether he was even given the opportunity to try and add one via a FA signing.
The Mariners were so close this year, and I almost want to give them a B anyway. This is more of a 82.6% B-, not a 80.3%. The staff dominated, Woo and Miller had great years for how young they are, Julio played great again, albeit in a more roller coaster fashion. Raleigh had a darn good season, and JP might just have ascended. Kelenic flashed, Teo did good enough, and Rojas/Cabby were fun. Ford had a real good OPS+, and hit for good power (when he was able to make contact).
There's a part of me that wonders. If we knew at the start of the season that the Mariners would have a chance to win the AL West in game 161, how happy would we have been? Ecstatic? Expecting it? Still wanting more? It's not the ending we wanted, but it was still an exciting season.
Now, let's go out there and make an impact this offseason. Go Mariners!