Posted by: bkivey | 1 August 2010

Playing Out the String

The 31 July non-waiver trading deadline came and went without the Mariners making a move and leaving many in Mariner Nation surprised and probably a little disappointed that GM Jack Zduriencik didn’t hang on to some of the pitching staff and possibly Ichiro and then wholesale trade the rest of the team.

The Mariners have put together a 39 – 65 record through the end of July, a month in which they went 6 – 22, matching a record of futility not seen in July since their expansion year of 1977. And the record reflects other team qualities associated with expansion teams, like a team batting average of .214 when bases are loaded and some horrible base running throughout the year. I cannot count the times the Mariners have loaded the bases with one or no outs and failed to get a hit. This is a team that has exactly one player, Ichiro, hitting above .300.

The starting pitching has generally been good enough to keep the team in games, but it must be all kinds of frustrating for a pitcher to give up one or two runs and know that your bats aren’t going to help you out, and that your W – L stats are skewed by the same lack of offense. Cliff Lee managed to put together an 8 – 3 record during his brief stint with the team despite the anemic run support. Of course, Mr. Lee is gone now in a trade to Texas.

While it made sense to trade Lee when it became apparent the Mariners weren’t going to need pitching in the post-season, the front office didn’t do the team any favors in the trade. The highest-rated player in the trade, Justin Smoak, was recently sent down to AAA Tacoma. This means that in exchange for a 2008 Cy Young winner and 2009 World Series winner we got. . . four minor-leaguers. I hope they’re good. Really good.

I can’t recall having to root for a such a poorly performing ‘home’ (the Mariners are the only MLB team in the Northwest) team since watching the Tampa Bay Bucs in the late ’80’s and early ’90’s. I still like baseball, I just don’t like watching the Mariners play it.

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