All-Star Game was a display of former Mariners who got away

Painful for a Pacific Northwesterner to watch.

Painful for a Pacific Northwesterner to observe.
Picture: Getty Pictures

In the course of the MLB All-Star Sport final night time, there was a second within the sixth inning the place Rays’ catcher Mike Zunino hit a house run off Mets’ pitcher Taijuan Walker, who was being caught by Milwaukee’s Omar Narvaez. Dodgers’ outfielder Chris Taylor watched the ball soar over his head, as Zunino rounded the bases and returned to the dugout the place he was met by Twins’ slugger Nelson Cruz.

Now, in the event you’re a fan of Seattle sports activities, you’ve most likely heard one or two of those names… possibly even all of them. Why? As a result of at one level each single identify I simply talked about was a Seattle Mariner or within the group’s group. And that’s not even each former Mariner in final night time’s contest: One in every of Milwaukee’s All-Star starters, Freddy Peralta, was signed by the Mariners again in 2013 earlier than being traded away for Adam Lind, and Tampa Bay reliever Andrew Kittredge was additionally a Mariner. Actually, at one level within the recreation Kittredge was pitching to Zunino, whereas Peralta was pitching to Narvaez. Each All-Star batteries consisted solely of former Mariners.

Many of the trades involving these gamers occurred years in the past when Seattle nonetheless had expectations to win regardless of an growing older core. Nonetheless, the Mariners by no means did. The earliest commerce involving any of the above gamers occurred in 2015. That season the Mariners completed 4th within the AL West with a document of 76-86, however that’s positive. The Mariners had a lot expertise of their farm system that they may both look ahead to them to develop and construct a aggressive group by home made prospects, or commerce them away to win proper now. The Mariners opted for the second choice, a very regular technique that a number of groups have carried out over time. It’s how the Dodgers landed Manny Machado, Yu Darvish, Mookie Betts, and lots of extra. The important thing to this technique although is getting really impactful gamers. Adam Lind will not be.

Clearly, Lind confronted surprising struggles in Seattle. The longtime Blue Jay hit for the third-lowest OPS of his profession and labored the bottom stroll charge of his profession in his lone season within the Pacific Northwest. He did enhance on his dwelling run numbers, however that wasn’t sufficient to make up for his factors of regression. I’m not blaming the Mariners for that. I’m blaming Seattle for giving up three of its higher prospects for Lind — a man who’d by no means been a severe game-changer — within the hopes that he’d flip a 76-win group right into a World Sequence contender. That was by no means going to be the case. Certain, the Mariners improved, however that wasn’t on account of Lind’s bat.

It’s gotta be troublesome being a Mariners fan. The group is presently in the midst of the longest active playoff drought in Main League Baseball, and is the one group within the league to have by no means appeared in a World Sequence. Regardless of having arguably the best group of all-time in 2001 and a number of other future Corridor of Famers resembling Randy Johnson, Ken Griffey Jr., Ichiro Suzuki, and Felix Hernandez (in addition to Alex Rodriguez, however I believe everyone knows why he most likely received’t be enshrined in Cooperstown), the Mariners have by no means received something. That’s tough. It’s to not say that the entire aforementioned trades have been unhealthy. A few of them netted arguably optimistic outcomes. The Taijuan Walker trade landed Mitch Haniger and Jean Segura — two gamers who each earned at the very least one All-Star nod throughout their tenures in Seattle. All of the Mariners had to surrender was Taijuan Walker and Ketel Marte — two gamers who’re youthful, cheaper, and collectively have two All-Star nods for his or her new groups.

Seattle followers have seen simply how a lot All-Star caliber expertise the Mariners used to have.

And the rain clouds proceed to circle over the heads of each Mariners fan. I wish to inform you that Seattle’s entrance workplace has carried out higher lately, however the Zunino, Narvaez, and Nelson Cruz trades have all occurred throughout the final three seasons. It’s been a collection of unlucky occasions for the M’s — filled with untapped potential from large identify trades and untapped potential from gamers traded away. It’s unlikely {that a} string of poor outcomes like this occurs once more. Proper now the Mariners have 5 prospects in MLB’s top 100.

Nonetheless, seeing that the group is presently 48-43 and simply 3.5 video games out of a playoff spot, I wouldn’t be shocked if the Mariners pulled the set off on a few of these prospects hoping to sneak into the playoffs in 2021. Don’t let that occur. The Mariners have a doubtlessly vibrant future after years of disappointment. One playoff look the place the Mariners get knocked out within the Division Sequence by Boston will not be going to get followers excited for lengthy. Don’t commerce away six extra future All-Stars. Hold them round this time.


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