Discover more from The View Level
Well, at least the Mariners know what they have
I've watched this team before. Hell, I'll watch 'em again.
The Mariners converted Prelander Berroa to a reliever. His life is forever changed. He was acquired for Donnie Walton in the middle of last year and these are the things I think—about the gravity of converting a 23-year-old in Double-A away from the starting rotation.
People can say “Oh, it could end up being temporary” and that’s true, in a Mike Montgomery kind of way, but look at Matt Brash. Once you’re a reliever, you don’t really go back.
A career arc, a life, an existence—forever changed by circumstances of necessity.
God bless the kid but this is one of the cooler and more respectable things the team has done dating back to the offseason.
The big club needs some help. So go find some help—wherever you can.
There’s this old adage (or something like it) where you don’t really know the team you have until you’ve played the first 40 or 50 or whatever number games. And I don’t know exactly what the number is, and it sure as hell isn’t some legit statistical thing, but I feel like I’ve seen enough games.
I’ve seen this team before. Every ball club every year is different, like you can have two golfers grind their way to a 14 handicap vastly distinct ways, but the overall quality level and consistency is real familiar.
I watched this team in 2014. In 2015. In 2016 and 2017 and 2018. In 2021 and 2022, too.
They could be good. They should be good. They could also not be good. They could even be bad. They’re not great.
The 2016 Mariners were nine over .500 after 43 games. The 2022 M’s were seven under. Different routes to get there, and even different vibes at that specific moment, but a similar outcome in the final win column.
And as quick as people are to point out “WELL if you look where they were last year,” allow me to be even quicker to say, buddy, I sure as hell don’t want to deal with this Mariners team being ten games under .500. Because it doesn’t usually work out like it did last year.
Either way, the Mariners now know what they have and can act on it.
It isn’t as if where this team sits is some kind of shock. Everyone’s got projections and if you think the folks in the rotunda on the corner of Edgar and Dave said “This is a 105-win ball club, we’re locked and loaded” back in mid-March, c’mon, you’re not that naive.
They try to make the best ball club they can with the resources they have—with sufficient upward volatility to have a shot at those upper-echelon win totals—and know the band of the most likely outcomes lies considerably lower.
Now, after those 43 games, the band of likely outcomes with the roster as constructed grows considerably narrower.
Kolten Wong is not rejuvenated after a change of scenery and theoretical better health. AJ Pollock may be cooked. Teoscar Hernández almost certainly won’t be an All-Star like he was in 2021. It’d be tough to see Julio get to some gaudy MVP-like eight-win season. Robbie Ray got Tommy John, not a second Cy Young, after a bump in velo. The bullpen has some weaknesses.
It happens. It’d be nice to have more resources, but it’d also be nice not roll snake eyes on the few moves you did make in the offseason.
Either way, we’re here now. And the Mariners know where they are, even if the guys in the clubhouse—and a lot of guys in the front office—haven’t experienced as many Mariners seasons like this as the fans have.
This season can still go a lot of different ways. I included 2015 and 2017 up above for a reason. They really weren’t too different from what we have now, though they finished far from contention. They even made moves to try to avoid their fates (Welington Castillo and Mark Trumbo! Marco Gonzales and Yonder Alonso!)
I cannot believe I’m about to use this analogy but in pinball, sometimes you need just one good ball out of three. In a tournament, usually one good ball will get you through. Two almost always will.
The Mariners still have a couple more balls to plunge.
Some will be helped by internal moves, like getting Berroa on the Edwin Díaz track and giving José Caballero more run before Dylan Moore, god help us, gets healthy and also plays well in something like a full-time role.
And, of course, there will be external moves. The waiver-wire-to-key-reliever pipeline will continue to flow. It’s early now, but there will be more significant plays, too.
One of my all-time favorite trades to bolster a Mariners team taking on a bit of water—picking up Denard Span and Alex Colomé in 2018—came down on May 25th.
I don’t know if we’ll see something that big (and that’s not that big) anytime soon, and to be truthful, I kind of doubt it.
But it won’t be for some kind of disillusion around this club. The Mariners know what they have, because so do we.
Now it’s just about where we all go next.