The Mariners Are A Bunch Of Miserable Fucking Failures

There’s always a loss, or a series, or a stretch of shitty games where you can look back and point to and say, “There. That’s when the season was blown.”

People like to tell you there are 162 games, and no one game is any more important than any others. But, I’m here to tell you that’s a load of hogshit. Of course there are regular season games that are more important than others! MLB has tie-breakers, so if you lose a season series to a team that might be in the hunt with you, that has a direct and serious impact.

Also, there are times in a season where you’re going to justifiably struggle. Maybe you’ve played a ton of games without regular off-days. Maybe you’ve played the bulk of your east coast games all in the first half of the season. Maybe you’ve got a stretch against elite opponents – coming off of a ton of games without regular off-days, and coming off of the bulk of your east coast road trips – and you lose, let’s say, 12 out of 17 games, causing your first place lead to dwindle. It’s at this point, when you’ve finally got a soft chunk of games – immediately preceeding the All Star Break – that you NEED to get right.

The Mariners very much did that in a 2-game set down in San Diego, winning both. All they had to do was go to Anaheim and win 3 or 4 games against the Angels to right the ship before a nice half-week off.

Instead, the Mariners promptly won the first game 11-0, and then lost the next three by one run each, blowing a lead in all three.

Friday’s game, we suffered a 10th inning defeat, thanks to Austin Voth grooving a 2-run homer with nobody out. For good measure, Voth also blew Sunday’s game, by giving up a 3-run jack to a guy batting .190 (of course, those games came as a direct result of me praising him for his good job of late in the Mariners’ bullpen, so that’s on me). And, somehow, even worse, we lost 2-1 on Saturday, after scoring a run in the top of the first and then nothing the rest of the way.

This team is a fucking cancer. I think it’s literally killing me, and one day it will consume us all.

How do you lose three straight games to the fucking Angels, without Mike Trout? They’re among the dregs in all of baseball! I mean, I know we all like to complain about the Mariners’ organization and how inept they are. But, the Angels had two of the best players of our generation and completely tanked every single year; it’s incredible!

And yet, THAT team just beat the Mariners 3 out of 4 games. Fuck me.

Now, we’re finally at the All Star Break. 52-46, still in first place in the A.L. West, but now by only a single game over the Astros (50-46). Obviously, if you had guaranteed this to me coming into the season, I probably would’ve taken it. But, as we’ve all witnessed, one team is CLEARLY on the upswing, while the other is CLEARLY on the downswing.

Whose shoes would you rather be in right now? Houston’s, who has the experience, the postseason pedigree, the hitting, some of the pitching, and guys coming back from injury? Or Seattle’s, with a 1-game lead (all in the win column), who has the pitching (with the bullpen looking iffier by the day, now that Ryne Stanek just had to leave a game with an injury), an extreme losing pedigree over the last 2+ decades, with very little experience, no hitting, and some of the all-time worst mojo an organization has ever seen?

Yeah, that’s no contest. I’d rather be rooting for the Astros right now. Feels like a much safer bet. Put the Taylor Family Farm on the Astros winning the A.L. West and watch it double in size!

Oh, and in case you weren’t depressed enough, guess who we’re playing immediately after the All Star Break! That would be the Astros, in the friendly confines of T-Mobile Park. At the worst possible moment this season, OF COURSE we have to look at the fucking Astros come into our park and fucking dominate us.

So, enjoy the next few days, I guess! People will tell you it’s impossible for the Mariners to lose between now and Friday, because there are no actual games on the schedule. But, if I know my Mariners, I know they’ll find a way to do something stupid.

Like draft a gimmicky fucking “switch pitcher” in the first round. If he’s not converted to a relief pitcher within the next two years, I’ll eat my hat. If he hasn’t given up the pipe dream of throwing with both arms in the Majors between now and his inevitable failure of a call-up, I’ll eat every hat I own. And if he actually turns into a success story as a starter at the Major League level, I’ll eat every hat within my city limits! What a joke of a pick. Forget the name Jurrangelo Cijntje, because the only time you’re ever going to hear it again is when someone complains about the 2024 Mariners draft.

What Is The Best Case Scenario For The 2024 Seahawks?

I’m on record as not being very excited about this year’s Seahawks team. I don’t think they’ll be bad, but they’re also probably not much better than 9-8 or 10-7. But, what’s the ceiling for this team? What happens if the defensive line dominates like we think it can? What happens if the offense takes to Ryan Grubb’s scheme like gangbusters? What’s the absolute peak for this team?

I’ll be honest, it’s hard for me to really give this thought experiment my all, because I truly don’t believe in it. I don’t think it’s crazy for this team to be better than people expect. I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility for the Seahawks to fly under the radar a little bit, and squeak into the playoffs. But, I just can’t envision a scenario where this team is a bona fide Super Bowl contender.

There are too many factors going against us. The new coaching staff, first and foremost. When have we ever seen a team revamp their entire coaching staff and immediately make a championship run? It’s always, you know, building a foundation, building a culture, and in maybe 2-4 years finding yourself in the big game.

Then, if you just go through this roster, there’s lots of nits to pick. At the top, you’ve got the offensive line. It might be cripplingly bad. Or, it might be what it was last year, when it prevented this team from doing much of anything other than a quick passing attack and hoping Kenneth Walker busted some big runs. Regardless, it won’t be a strength, and that limits you tremendously.

Who are the linebackers, and are they going to be worth a damn? Are they going to fill holes, stop the run, and limit the intermediate passing attack? How good is this secondary, really? And, of course, we’re perfectly mediocre at quarterback, the most important position on the field.

But, really, the most damning thing is this team’s lack of studs. Maybe you like the wide receivers and running backs, but those guys are entirely dependent upon the quarterback and offensive line. Who are the studs on defense? You hope Byron Murphy is, but he’s a rookie. Leonard Williams is a solid DT, but he’s not a game-wrecker. Boye Mafe and Uchenna Nwosu are fine outside linebackers, but they’re not the best of the best. Devon Witherspoon is exciting, but he’s also like the tiniest man on the team.

Now, look at San Francisco. Look at Detroit. Look at Dallas and Philly and the Packers and even the Rams. Do the Seahawks have the studs that those teams have? No way. Not even close.

If we’re looking at best case scenario, I still think we’re talking about maybe an 11-win team. That’s not nothing, of course. That would’ve tied for the fourth-best record in the NFC last year with the Eagles, one game behind the Niners.

Best case, I think the Seahawks split with the Rams and 49ers, while sweeping the Cardinals. That’s a respectable 4-2 record in the division, that MIGHT be good enough to nail some tiebreakers. I think you have to hope two of the other losses come against the AFC, just to give yourself a fighting chance with conference tiebreakers; I’m looking at losing two of three to the Dolphins, Bills, and Jets. That gives you one other conference loss to play around with, be it the Lions, Packers, Bears, or Falcons. Everyone else – the Broncos, Patriots, Giants, and Vikings – you should be expected to beat.

Can the Seahawks do that? Can they go 4-2 in the division, lose 2 to the AFC, and go 3-1 against the other middling NFC teams, all while winning the games you’re supposed to win? In a vacuum, that seems reasonable.

And if it does happen, there’s no bigger indictment of the last 8 or so years of the Pete Carroll regime. And especially the last two years. Because they would have done that with largely the same roster.

Seems like a tall order, though. What’s impossible is anything BETTER than 11-6. Conceivably, I could see that winning a division, if the 49ers fall back to Earth a little bit. But, it’s almost assuredly a 3 or 4 seed, which is nothing at all. Certainly not good enough to make a deep playoff run.

The Mariners Have One Top Ten Position Player By WAR

It’s kinda crazy how inept the Mariners are on the non-pitching side of things.

The All Star Game rosters were announced over the weekend, and Logan Gilbert was the lone entry for the Mariners for a while, until Andres Munoz was later added due to … whatever. Guys opting out, guys being injured … whatever.

If you were expecting more than one or two Mariners to be on the American League roster, I’m afraid to tell you that there just weren’t a lot of options. Let’s face it, even for as good as the pitching has been, other teams have awesome pitchers too. I’ll admit, I’m a little biased towards Munoz; I think he’s been absolutely incredible, especially while fighting through nagging ailments. But, then again, the starting pitching has been the heart & soul of this team, and you can almost throw a dart at any of our five starters and find a great candidate.

Going by WAR, Logan Gilbert is the best on the team with 2.7 (that makes him 17th in baseball). Kirby is next at 2.0 (34th in baseball), followed by Munoz (1.7; 49th), Woo (1.4; 72nd), and Castillo (1.3; 84th). That just kinda goes to show you how mediocre Castillo has been, that Woo (in 11 fewer games) has been more valuable.

Anyway, that’s not why I’m getting on here today. I thought I would go through MLB stats by position and see where all the Mariners rank. I don’t know if there’s one singular way to rank them all; you can go by average or OPS or whatever. But, I went with WAR, because it’s easy, it’s on ESPN.com, and I don’t have to think very hard.

Long story short, Cal Raleigh is the aforementioned Only Mariner In The Top Ten At His Position By WAR. He’s 9th in baseball among catchers at 1.7. He’s second on the team, and if you were going to attempt to make an argument for a position player making the All Star Game, he’d be the only guy I’d even remotely listen to.

You wanna know where everyone else ranks?

Well, at first base, Ty France is looking just as cooked as we all feared he might be. He’s 29th in baseball with a 0.1 WAR. By comparison, former Mariner (and someone we easily could’ve retained, if we wanted to, for a reasonable cost to boot) Carlos Santana is 11th in WAR for the Twins (1.4). Also, not for nothing, but Mark Canha? The guy who’s seemingly rumored to be coveted by the Mariners at every trade deadline? He’s 28th in WAR among first basemen at 0.2. So … not the super upgrade you might think.

The less said about second base, the better. Know who’s the top-ranked Mariners second baseman? That would be Ryan Bliss, 25th in baseball (0.4). Know who’s the second-best Mariners second baseman? That would be Samad Taylor, who appeared in three games (and has otherwise been in Tacoma all year); he’s 43rd. You have to go all the way down to 56 before you run into Jorge Polanco (-0.4), so that’s neat.

At third base, making a somewhat respectable showing, we have Josh Rojas, who is 14th with a 1.8 WAR. Wanna know who the top-rated third baseman is at WAR? That would be the guy nobody wanted until LATE in Spring Training (aka, the guy the Mariners could’ve had, if they’d only spent the money), Matt Chapman, with a 3.6 WAR. 3 years, $54 million, for someone who would’ve been the best player on this team. Would’ve afforded you the option to move Rojas to second (when Polanco inevitably struggled), and probably would’ve given us more of a cushion in this A.L. West race. Awesome.

At short stop, I don’t even know what to do with this, because ESPN lists Dylan Moore here, who (I guess) is the 18th best short stop in baseball with a 1.7 WAR. J.P., having a very down year, is only 25th, with a 1.3 WAR. Know who’s right in the middle between those two? Jose Caballero (now on the Rays), with a 1.4 WAR.

In left field, the highest-rated Mariner is Luke Raley, who’s 21st with a 1.2 WAR. Know who’s rated one spot higher at 1.3 WAR? If you guessed Jarred Kelenic, you’d be correct.

Center field is where it really hurts, because this is where our supposedly-best player roams. Julio is only 14th with a 1.1 WAR, but also I don’t know how seriously I can take this list, because ESPN puts Teoscar Hernandez in this category. Anyway, he’s ranked 8th among “center fielders” with a 1.8 WAR.

In right field, you have to go all the way to 27th before you run into Dominic Canzone (0.4 WAR). You have to go all the way to 81st before you run into Mitch Haniger (-0.7 WAR), where you’ll find that there are only five right fielders worse than him in all of baseball.

Taking the outfield as a whole, the top three Mariners are Luke Raley (45th), Julio (48th), and … (drum roll) … Victor Robles (81st with a 0.6 WAR between the Mariners and Nationals). That’s the same Robles who we brought in last month, who’s appeared in only 17 games in a Mariners uniform (with all of 20 at-bats). His slash line with us is .350/.435/.600, leading me to wonder … should the Mariners be playing him more?!

To round things out, Mitch Garver is the 8th ranked DH, but according to ESPN, there are only 11 qualified designated hitters in baseball, and Garver has the worst WAR among DH’s who have a positive WAR (0.1). In other words, he doesn’t count for this thought experiment. Also, Shohei Ohtani has a 5.1 WAR exclusively as a DH, which is bonkers banana times.

Anyway, this roster is fucking depressing. Who’s ready for more baseball?! Because I know I sure as shit am NOT!

There’s No Way For The Mariners To Win Without Increasing Payroll

Every year, it’s the same story. The Mariners have their budget, fans lament about the lack of free agent spending, a certain segment of the media and fanbase pushes back against spending money for the sake of spending money, and ultimately nothing matters because the Mariners win 54% of their games and are able to stay in playoff contention for longer than anyone could’ve reasonably hoped for heading into the season.

Yeah, of course, I don’t want the Mariners to spend a bunch of money on shitty players. That’s not what ANYONE wants, when they talk about the Mariners spending more. But, there’s a difference that no one is referencing. It makes sense to go after productive players still in their primes, even if you have to over-pay to get them here. What DOESN’T make sense is going after broke-ass over-the-hill players who were great 3-5 years ago, but now can barely swing a bat. Jorge Polanco three years ago? Sign me up. Mitch Haniger five years ago (assuming he would’ve been healthy)? Of course I want that! Kolten Wong five years ago, Mitch Garver three years ago, these are all fine players who would’ve been very helpful to the last couple of Mariners squads.

There’s clearly an internal struggle within Mariners ownership between people who want to put a winner on the field, and people who want to be the Tampa Bay Rays. But, how many World Series championships have the Rays won? Zero. How many have they been to? Two, which is obviously infinity more than the Mariners, but in those two World Series appearances, they have combined for exactly 3 more victories than the Mariners. In other words, they were never serious contenders to be champions. It feels like – more than anything else – they caught the Clutch Bug, lucked their way into the finals, and ran into a buzzsaw that was clearly better than them.

I don’t really feel like going back and doing the work right now, but if you go through all the World Series champions, you have to go back to the 2015 Kansas City Royals before you find a winner that was a traditional low payroll sort of team. Before that? I have no idea. The A’s won it all in 1989, but that was over a generation ago; things were a lot different in Oakland in 1989.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but we’re talking about one team in the last – let’s say – 30 years (dating back to the strike) where a low budget team won it all. And, even then, the Royals were 17th in payroll in 2015.

Ready to be sick to your stomach? Guess who’s 17th in payroll in 2024 at the moment.

Clearly, that’s not going to get the job done this year. Once again, the hitting is too shitty. Once again, we have too many holes to overcome. Once again, the margin for error is too razor thin.

What’s shocking to me is that the Mariners still haven’t been swept in a series. What’s far less shocking is that they’ve lost six series in a row. With this most recent one against the Blue Jays, of course you have to blame the bats, but you can also blame Ryne Stanek for blowing the finale by giving up a 3-run bomb in the 7th. Now, we go to San Diego for a 2-game set; I would bet the Taylor Family Farm we get swept in this series, where we’re going up against a team that has almost our exact record. Of course, the Padres’ starting pitchers are nothing special, but that won’t stop them from striking us out a combined 30 times in two games.

Then, it’s a 4-game set against the Angels before FINALLY having this first half come to a close.

I was out of town most of last week, so I didn’t see a second of the Blue Jays series. Nevertheless, I could sure use a break from this team for a few days!

It’s Going To Get Worse Before It Gets Better For The Mariners

The Mariners just finished a 3-6 road trip, then proceeded to follow that up with a 1-2 weekend against the Twins. Now, we’ve got a dominant Orioles team in town for three, before an annoying weekend set against the Blue Jays, and a 2-game series down in San Diego before finishing up the first half against the Angels.

It’s not great for the Mariners right now. This might be the worst stretch of baseball we’ve seen from this team this year, especially on offense. But, the thing is: this is who the Mariners are. This is who they’ve been all year. Maybe there’s been a few extra hiccups on the pitching side of things, but that was always going to happen. They weren’t going to be THAT elite all season long. You can say they’re tired, you can say they’re over-stressed and forced to pitch in too many high-leverage situations (brought on by the offense’s inability to ever accrue a comfortable lead), but even in ideal conditions, they were always going to have some slip-ups.

But, the offense? That’s been a constant all the way through. For a while there, the pitching was good enough – and, quite frankly, this team was lucky enough in so many clutch situations – to help the team amass an 8.5-game lead in the A.L. West, and to climb up to 13 games over .500.

Now, our lead is 3 games. And, in just 12 games, we’ve dropped to 7 games over .500.

It’s gotten so bad, Julio’s been dropped to 7th in the lineup. He’s got his personal hitting coach here (who, quite frankly, sounds like he’s REALLY FUCKING SHITTY at his job, given what’s happened to Julio’s mechanics this season), he’s got Edgar Martinez in his ear, he’s taking a bunch of extra batting practice this week. And, none of it’s working.

The Mariners just got shut out 2-0 tonight. That miserable schedule we’ve got coming up is only going to make matters worse. Everyone’s clinging to the fact that the M’s have yet to be swept in a series, but I think that meaningless streak is going to end very soon, maybe even two days from now.

And yet, for as bad as it is right now – and I’ve outlined just how atrocious it is – it will get better. It doesn’t feel like it now, but it will.

This isn’t me trying to convince you that this is a good team. It’s not. Not really. I’m not sitting here telling you that the offense will come around. We’re beyond three months into this thing, and the offense has been exactly the same. With Brant Brown, without Brant Brown. With warmer temperatures, with cooler temperatures. At home, on the road. Tinkering with the lineup, giving guys regular rest, believing in veterans who should be fully capable of playing up to the level of their baseball cards. Nothing’s worked. This offense sucks! It’s not the worst offense ever; nothing will ever out-suck 2010. But, given the circumstances, given how good the pitching has been, this might be the biggest let-down an offense has ever laid on us.

And yet, I still believe it’ll get better. Not because I believe the Mariners will go out and make significant deals before the trade deadline. Not because I think there’s help among the minor league ranks. Not because Julio’s bound to turn it around and get hot for at least a month. But, just because: that’s baseball.

This is the same team that was killing it through June 18th; they can get back to 13 games over .500 again. They can figure out ways to scrape together some wins. And, not for nothing, but the second half of the season is loaded with sub-par teams who will eventually give up all hope.

We just have to weather this storm. It’s gonna suck for a little while longer, and then it’ll be fine again.

Just be glad we’re not facing the red-hot Astros in this stretch of games, because if there was ever a team that would be all too happy to sweep a hapless Mariners brood, it would be them.

The Mariners Are In A Punishing Cold Spell

The Mariners just finished a 3-6 road trip, losing all three 3-game series 2-1. It’s a testament to … something that we didn’t get swept in any of them, but it still isn’t ideal.

Remember when the Mariners had the biggest divisional lead in all of baseball? That 8.5 game lead is now 4.5 games, the second-slimmest lead in all of baseball. That team directly behind us is now the Astros, not the Rangers (who are 7.5 back). The Astros, embroiled in a 7-game win streak, have climbed to .500 at 40-40. Any notion that this was going to be a cakewalk the rest of the way should probably be dismissed.

It’s a combination of the hitters sucking, the rotation suffering some cracks in the armor, and the bullpen giving up a couple of late leads. You don’t go through a stretch like this without your entire team doing its part to cost you games.

It couldn’t happen at a worse time, either. Apparently, everyone has agreed that late-June is too early to be giving up on their season. For some reason, we have to wait a whole-ass month before guys can start being traded. By the time we get to late July, things will have turned a corner, guys will start hitting again, and it won’t feel like there’s a drastic need for change. We’ll wonder if veterans are giving it one last gasp, and if we’re giving up on them just as they’re finally figuring it out.

But, suffice it to say, the damage has been done. We’re three months in. We’re beyond the first half of the season. If you haven’t figured it out by now, then tough titty, you had 80+ games. Any uptick in production in July will only feel like a mirage.

In some downer news, Bryan Woo is back on the IL, with a hamstring strain. If it isn’t one thing with him, it’s five others. I guess Emerson Hancock will be back, but he also left his most recent start for injury concerns. By all accounts, he’ll be fine, but we’ll see. Neither of those two have proven to be the healthiest horses of the bunch.

The good news is that today’s an off-day. Also, the next three Mondays are all off-days (that third one being the start of the All Star Break). The toughest stretch of season is behind us. Even with the bummer finish, it went better than expected.

The bad news is that even though we’re greeted with a 9-game homestand spread out over 10 days, it’s against three pretty tough opponents: Minnesota, Baltimore, Toronto. Time to put that awesome home record nonsense to the test. If we somehow come out of this with a winning record, you MIGHT get me to be a believer.

Then, it’s just a weeklong trip down the California coast before the break. Nice way to ease into things. But will this cold spell continue? God, I hope not. There’s nothing worse than being forced to watch bad Mariners baseball …

The Three Worst Mariners Still On The Active Roster Are Under Contract Through 2025

You know why it feels so miserable to be a Mariners fan? Because it’s always one step forward, two steps back.

The Mariners made the playoffs in 2022, got through the wild card round … only to get swept by the Astros in the ALDS (losing a heartbreaking final game in 18 innings 1-0). One step forward, two steps back.

As you do, the Mariners made a number of moves in the offseason to try to better themselves heading into 2023. They brought in Teoscar Hernandez, they gave Jarred Kelenic a significant trial as a platoon outfielder (which eventually turned into a mostly-everyday role), and they worked in Bryce Miller and Bryan Woo into the rotation … but Kolten Wong and AJ Pollock were total busts, and Eugenio Suarez and Ty France took significant steps back, leading to us missing the playoffs. One step forward, two steps back.

Try try again, the Mariners went back to the drawing board heading into 2024. With a significant money crunch tying one hand behind their backs, they managed to shed dead salary (Marco Gonzales, Robbie Ray), while attempting to bring in some under-the-radar guys to help bolster the lineup. Josh Rojas (acquired at the deadline in 2023) has taken a significant step forward, Luke Raley has been a welcome addition and replacement for Kelenic, and Canzone and Bliss have had their moments filling in around the margins, all the while keeping our starting rotation intact … but our three most significant additions have all been fucking terrible.

One step forward, two steps back.

There are 8 Mariners in 2024 with a 0.0 WAR or lower (that is, negative WAR). Wins Above Replacement, that’s the stat. You’re comparing these players against “Replacement Level” players. “Replacement Level” doesn’t mean “average”. It means FUCKING TERRIBLE. If you’re a replacement level player, you’re just a warm body some hapless team is throwing out there because they have no better alternatives.

Of those 8, five are in Tacoma at the moment: Tyler Locklear (0.0), Luis Urias (-0.2), Jonatan Clase (-0.2), Sam Haggerty (-0.3), and Seby Zavala (-0.4). That’s a tough spot for Locklear, because I thought he did some good things while he was up here. But, he only played in 11 games, and as a first baseman, he doesn’t get much of a defensive boost. The rest of those guys are just terrible. Clase might turn it around at some point, but I doubt it’ll be here. Urias would probably do well to play in something more like a bandbox. Zavala and Haggerty should probably never be heard from again.

Anyway, the other three who are still on the active roster are Mitch Garver (0.0), Jorge Polanco (-0.1), and Mitch Haniger (-0.7). They’ve been, pound-for-pound, dollar-for-dollar, the worst Mariners of 2024. And they’re all – at least technically – under contract for 2025.

Jorge Polanco, to be fair, has a club option, with a $750,000 buy-out, which is all but guaranteed to happen. He’s earning $10.5 million this year, and would make $12 million next year. He’s cooked.

Mitch Garver is on the first of a 2-year, $24 million contract. And even though the M’s received $6 million from the Giants while trading for Haniger, we’re apparently on the hook for an extra million he gets as a bonus for being traded, meaning we’re likely on the hook for $12.5 million next year (on top of $16 million this year). That’s a lot of money to be on the hook for, for guys who are actively hurting our team.

These three players are also, not for nothing, in the top 6 of paid players on the roster in 2024. You can’t get much worse than that. The three biggest moves of the offseason: all busts.

And now we’ve gotta try to make chicken salad out of chicken shit at the deadline?

The only guy you could conceivably cut is Polanco. At some point, his will be a sunk cost, and it will be more worth it to the team to have him off the roster than even just benching him. That point won’t come before the trade deadline, and he brings back no value whatsoever as a trade chip. So, you just gotta give him the next month or so, hope he breaks out of this season-long slump, and when he inevitably continues to fail, you quietly release him sometime in August.

Garver potentially has some value in a trade, as he can play catcher, and in the right ballpark he can still hit some dingers. There’s also potential for him to just get better here. His numbers have improved – if ever-so-slightly – every month. In March/April, he had an OPS of .553; in May, that rose to .617; and so far in June, he’s mashing at an .830 clip. He’s not Babe Ruth or anything, but .830 would easily lead this team. If he can just do that the rest of the way, he’ll see his WAR get into the positive in no time!

It’s Hanger that’s the rough one, though. He’s got nothing. He had a VERY good first couple weeks to the season, and then proceeded to fall off a cliff with a boulder tied around his waist. He finished April with an OPS of .677; his OPS fell to .570 in May; and has been .538 in June. He’s also been a complete liability in the outfield, as he might be the worst defender on the team. Which is a shame, because we have very fond memories of Haniger! He’s a very likable guy. He’s hard-working, he’s a leader, he wants to be here. And, quite frankly, as he’s the only Mariner who bridged the gap between the previous generation (who never made the playoffs, looking at Felix and Seager, among many others) and this current one, it would be nice to send him off with some modicum of success in the post-season. As this team does, indeed, seem poised to get back there, what better opportunity?

But, at the same time, it’s Haniger who – more than anyone else – is preventing this team from achieving that goal. He has no value to anyone else, he’s a drain on the 2024 Mariners, and he’s also somehow a drain on the 2025 Mariners, and they haven’t even played a single game!

As we know from this ownership group, they’re not going to tolerate eating all of these salaries. With Polanco, they have no choice. Garver can still be salvaged. But, with Haniger, it feels like we’re stuck. We would have to ship off another prized prospect just to be rid of him, and I don’t know about you, but I’m getting fucking sick and tired of losing out on prospects just to open up cap space (in a sport that, again, doesn’t have an actual salary cap, other than the self-imposed one this team puts on itself for reasons of utter cheapness).

We already need to use these fucking prospects to acquire Major League talent in hopes to win right now! To also have to use them just to get rid of our duds is a fucking slap to the face.

In conclusion: I’m writing off Polanco and Haniger, but not quite Garver. As long as we can hide Garver as this team’s second catcher, he’s a clear step up from what backup catchers we have at the AAA level. It’s a pretty penny to have to pay for someone who might play once every five days, but at least he serves a function. Polanco and Haniger are entirely useless, and the sooner they’re gone, the better.

The Mariners’ Home/Road Splits Are Meaningless

There can be any number of reasons why a team might have contrasting home/road splits. Generally, teams are better at home than they are on the road. That’s just the way it goes. You have a slight advantage being at home, with final at-bats, with the crowd behind you, with being able to sleep in your own beds. Yet, it’s always a boring topic of conversation when a team is halfway through the season and is better on the road than they are at home.

That’s usually where the Mariners find themselves. For whatever reason, the Mariners are usually better on the road than they are at home. Usually, we chalk it up to the Mariners’ hitters struggling in their home ballpark, being unleashed on the road where it’s almost always easier for them to hit. And, when your pitching staff is good (which we usually have here), pitching tends to play anywhere and everywhere; hence the reverse home/road splits.

But, this year’s different. The Mariners are 27-12 at home, and 18-23 on the road (after back-to-back series losses at Cleveland and Miami). All of a sudden, the same kind of Mariners team we usually have (bad hitters, good pitchers) is “built to play at home”. T-Mobile Park has somehow turned into a “house of horrors” for opposing teams. We’ve unlocked the secret sauce to winning at home, and it’s to the detriment to our performance on the road!

Or, it’s all bullshit and means nothing.

If I had to attribute our struggles on the road to any one thing, it’s not our pitchers being mortal outside of the marine air of Seattle; it’s the fact that SO MANY of our road trips have taken us all the way across the country. Milwaukee, Toronto, Baltimore, New York, Washington D.C., Cleveland, Miami, and now Tampa. These trips have been long, they’ve been far, and they’ve often been without any breaks whatsoever. That shit adds up over a while.

What also happens over a while? These things tend to balance themselves out. The Mariners have often struggled with their home record early in seasons, only to finish above .500. I would expect this to be no different. There’s no way the Mariners are going to continue winning at a .692 clip at home the rest of the way. We’re also probably not going to finish below .500 on the road. Not with trips to play the Angels, White Sox, Tigers, Pirates, Angels again, A’s, Rangers, and Astros in the second half.

The Mariners are 45-35; after tonight we’re right at the halfway point in the season. The Mariners are probably, therefore, a 90-win team, when it’s all said and done. Maybe, as more teams fall out of contention, we can bump that up a few wins down the stretch. I would, therefore, expect us to win around 54-56% of our games at home, and 54-56% of our games on the road in total this year.

What we have to hope against is the notion that this team isn’t actually as good as it’s been playing like overall. Should we actually have a worse record, and therefore are in store for some negative regression? If that’s the case, then all bets are off. Because, if this is actually closer to an 85-win team, then we’re in trouble the rest of the way.

Regardless, it makes no difference where they play the games. It’s all going to more or less even out in the end.

In other news, Jorge Polanco is back, and is right back to batting second in the lineup. Meanwhile, Mitch Garver is batting 8th, and Mitch Haniger isn’t even playing tonight. Ty France has 1 hit since returning from the IL. The four most expendable and useless veterans are single-handedly working to tank this season, and I don’t know what this organization can do about it. They certainly won’t eat any of the money, without getting something back in return! Or, rather, I’m sure they’d be happy to get rid of them and pay for the right to do so in prospects, if our trade partner is willing to eat salary for us.

It’s truly a nightmare to be a Mariners fan. Every single day is worse than the last. And if you’re feeling good about things, wait a day or two! It’ll take a turn.

How The 2017 NFL Draft Ruined The Seattle Seahawks

I was writing about something else, when as a lark, I jumped into the Wiki of the 2017 NFL draft. I will be perfectly honest, I was there because of Patrick Mahomes.

It’s always nagged at me that the Seahawks were scouting Mahomes in the lead-up to that draft. Is that just noise? The Seahawks leaking reports to make John Schneider look smart? Maybe; anything’s possible. But, I don’t know if I would comprehend the endgame of that. Why leak that story at all, if he wasn’t legitimately interested?

If Mahomes was here, maybe Pete Carroll would still be here. Maybe the Seahawks would have more than the one Super Bowl victory. Maybe WE would be the envy of every other NFL fanbase!

The thought process behind the Mahomes-to-Seahawks hoopla was the concept that if he had fallen in the draft, maybe we would’ve taken him anyway, and had him sit behind Wilson until he was ready to ascend (and we could just let Wilson walk, like the Packers did with Favre).

But, he didn’t fall. Kansas City made sure of that. Kansas City moved up in the draft, trading with Buffalo to get the 10th overall pick in 2017, giving them 27 & 91, as well as a first rounder in 2018. For shits and giggles, I looked to see what the Seahawks had coming into that draft. We had 26, AND we had three third rounders, including pick 90.

If that isn’t a kick in the pants, I don’t know what is.

Now, obviously, the Seahawks had Russell Wilson. We signed him to a 4-year extension in July of 2015. You could argue that was the beginning of the end, because even though it wasn’t likely the Seahawks could’ve traded him that summer, if they had gotten a jump and traded him before (or even waited and traded him after the 2015 season), we would’ve gotten a HAUL in return. I know everyone is pleased as punch with what we swindled out of the Broncos after the 2021 season, but just imagine what we could’ve gotten for him in his prime, still on his rookie deal!

Anyway, as that link indicates, I was against trading Wilson in 2015. But, I would’ve gotten over it, especially if it had led to us getting Mahomes in 2017. You take the 2016 draft, rebuild at other spots, then you get Mahomes in 2017 and off you go.

What makes matters worse is what we actually did in the 2017 NFL draft.

We traded down from 26 to 31 (missing out on T.J. Watt in the process). We, then, traded down again, from 31 to 34 (missing out on Ryan Ramczyk in the process). We traded down one more time, from 34 to 35 (missing out on Cam Robinson), all so we could draft Malik McDowell. He was an all-time bust who we spent YEARS trying to recover from (making multiple trades for interior defensive linemen, who all backfired on us in one way or another, while slogging through mediocrity the entire way).

What did we do with the rest of the landslide of draft picks we acquired?

  • Ethan Pocic in the second round: who we dicked around with at guard, before ultimately putting him at the only position he was good at (center), but not before he got bit by he injury bug for multiple years.
  • Shaquill Griffin in the third round: a good, not great, cornerback, who was a pale imitation of Richard Sherman.
  • Lano Hill in the third round: a total bust of a strong safety; not even a pale imitation of Kam Chancellor.
  • Nazair Jones in the third round: a total nobody of a DT.
  • Amara Darboh in the third round: a total nobody of a WR.
  • Tedric Thompson in the fourth round: yet another total bust of a safety, who sure as shit was no Earl Thomas; we also suffer the further indignity of knowing that George Kittle was on our radar and could’ve been had in this spot.
  • Michael Tyson in the sixth round: not the boxer.
  • Justin Senior in the sixth round: who?
  • David Moore in the seventh round: one of the best players we drafted in this class, who was little more than a possession receiver in the vein of a poor man’s Jermaine Kearse.
  • Chris Carson in the seventh round: probably the most talented player in our draft class, who fell to the seventh round because of injury concerns, and did not disappoint on that count in the pros.

In short, we overpaid Russell Wilson for dwindling production, we missed out on Patrick Mahomes – a guy who might end up surpassing Tom Brady as the greatest player of all time – AND we not only stockpiled a shitload of crap, but had to account for our mistakes by making more mistakes in the future, all in hopes of clinging to playoff relevance that never panned out into championships.

You know, it’s entirely possible that the fans would’ve rioted if we’d traded Russell Wilson back in 2015 or 2016. But, I would argue, what we’ve had to endure since has been remarkably worse. Forever Mediocre, as I’ve taken to coining it.

Pete Carroll has two legacies when it comes to his time in Seattle. The first one is obviously terrific: he blessed us with our first NFL championship, he built up an exciting roster of young, ferocious players who were the most fun team to watch in the entire league for a good half-decade or more. Ultimately, that will overshadow everything else, and become The One True Legacy.

But, his other legacy is always going to linger, a Barry Bonds’ head-sized asterisk (minus the rampant doping). Because Pete Carroll shoulders the blame for having amassed such a splendid collection of players and ONLY winning one Super Bowl. He gets the blame for costing us XLIX (along with the OC for calling a dumb play, along with Russell Wilson for his decision-making in that instant, along with our receivers for not properly executing the play). He also gets the blame for the various personnel moves that backfired throughout the years (along with John Schneider, but obviously Carroll had total authority and final say). And, he gets the blame for the back-half of the decade he was here, when he lost control of the team, when his defense failed us, and when his franchise quarterback demanded more control of the offense.

What should’ve been a dynasty, was instead one dominant Super Bowl victory, one of the most regrettable moments in Super Bowl history, and a whole lotta “What Could’ve Been”.

There are any number of inflection points you can point to. Trading for Percy Harvin and giving him a dumptruck full of cash (over keeping your homegrown Golden Tate); the whole debacle that was the Jimmy Graham deal (both losing our Pro Bowl center, as well as changing an offense entirely to force-feeding a soft, slow tight end); giving in to the Let Russ Cook crowd as opposed to cutting ties a year earlier and trading him to the Bears like we should’ve. But, really, it was the 2017 draft, and all the decisions made before (that prevented us from moving up to grab Mahomes) and since (in the fallout of Malik McDowell), that ultimately proved to be this franchise’s downfall.

We’re still, 7 years later, trying to recover, with seemingly no end in sight.

What Happens After The Seahawks Have Another .500-ish Season?

In the last 9 years, the Seahawks have won the NFC West twice; they’ve made the playoffs six times, but failed to advance beyond the divisional round. In the last three seasons – the final one with an injured Russell Wilson, and the two with Geno Smith at the helm – we’ve gone a combined 25-26, including back-to-back 9-8 seasons.

That’s the nutshell of why Pete Carroll was fired. We’re hoping – with Mike Macdonald & Co. – to do significantly better than that.

Pete Carroll had a Win Forever mentality. That means no rebuilding, no tearing things down to build back better; rather, to maintain a consistent level of excellence, presumably to give yourself as many bites at the apple as possible. As we’ve seen from numerous middling-looking players and teams throughout the Super Bowl Era, all it takes is one hot stretch in the playoffs, and you too can be a champion, Joe Flacco! You too can be a Two-Time Champion, Eli Manning!

To some of us Seahawks fans, that feels like a Fantasyland of sorts. As we saw here, no team can win forever, not even one as lethally-constructed as the Legion Of Boom-era Seahawks. Contracts and egos and draft mistakes and compounding trade mistakes get in the way, and slowly, but surely, erode what you’ve built. You’re forced to make compromises, you get trapped into investing in the wrong position groups (so desperate to cling to the few stars you’ve managed to cultivate, even if it’s multiple safeties), until eventually you’re winning just enough to MAKE the playoffs, but you’re never good enough to do any real damage once you get there.

It’s the teams who tear down, who are able to fortify through high draft picks at key positions (quarterback, both sides of the line of scrimmage), they’re the ones who tend to pop more often than not. They’re the ones who get good and deep, who stay good for a while, before ultimately falling apart and needing to start the cycle all over again.

I would rather have THAT, than be Forever Mediocre, which is ultimately what the Pete Carroll system brought us. You’ll never become elite if you’re always drafting in the 20’s.

That’s all just a way of me saying: I think the Seahawks are going to be mediocre in 2024 once again.

Honestly? I don’t see any way it’s possible for these Seahawks to win fewer than 8 games. I don’t even care about the schedule; it doesn’t matter who we’re going up against. We have two decent, but not-great quarterbacks. Geno Smith has already proven he’s good enough to get us to 9 wins; he’s done it twice in a row! The drop-off from Smith to Sam Howell is negligible at best; there’s an argument to be made that the Seahawks might ultimately be better with Howell. Regardless, we won’t be worse.

The running back room is strong, the wide receiver room is strong, and the tight ends are fine (if unimportant to the passing game at large). The only way this offense takes a significant step back is if the offensive line is a total disaster, or if the offensive scheme is too much for these players to handle (or if our play-caller just isn’t ready for NFL adjustments). The thing is, the offensive line was already pretty bad last year, and a lot of the same pieces are returning (or similar-in-talent pieces to the guys we lost). I’ll be watching the OC closely, but given that he’s a former Husky – who presided over the best Husky offense we’ve ever seen – I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt.

As for the defense, the D-Line is as stacked as it’s been in years. We have talent at cornerback, so that’s the top two areas of need on any defense. We’re a little lacking in name recognition at linebacker and safety, but those are also two of the least-important position groups on any given team (and also the easiest to fill out with no-name players). Combined with Mike Macdonald being something of a defensive mastermind, I don’t expect this side of the ball to be any WORSE than it’s been the last few years (when it was down around 30th in the league in multiple areas).

The Seahawks have been 9-8 the last two years with a terrible defense and a Geno Smith-esque quarterback. Geno’s back, and the defense should be at least marginally improved, so I would expect nothing less than 8 or 9 wins this season.

With that being said, you might be wondering why I’m not asking what happens if the Seahawks are considerably better than expected? If, again, my floor is 8-9 wins, isn’t it at least possible that we win another 4 games and get to 12-13?

Sure, anything’s possible. But, again, this team has holes. The O-Line just isn’t there yet. Geno clearly has a ceiling that is going to prevent us from seriously competing against the very best teams in the league, and as long as we’ve got the 49ers and Rams in our own division, that dog just isn’t going to hunt. And, while I have the utmost confidence in our coaching staff, and believe we did a remarkable job wading through those waters in finding the correct hires this offseason, there’s always a learning curve that first season. There are growing pains, there are players who just won’t be good fits in our schemes, and there are players who will likely be resistant to change.

That’s my diplomatic way of saying: I don’t believe D.K. Metcalf will be long for this team.

All that put together, I’m expecting another 9-8 season in 2024. So, what happens when that ultimately transpires?

Well, I was discouraged to hear John Schneider – in some interview he gave recently – continue to espouse a version of that Win Forever mentality. I don’t remember the exact words, but it was a clunky way to avoid something that Pete Carroll either trademarked, or otherwise has his stink all over. Of course, what is an NFL GM going to say? They’re not going to tell us they WANT to have a shitty year or two, before rebounding and competing for a championship again. It just kinda has to come naturally, all while pretending you’re disappointed to be drafting in the Top 10 and getting a potential game-changing presence on your team.

This isn’t exclusive to the Seahawks, by the way. The Steelers seem to be a prime example of this philosophy. They haven’t seriously contended since 2016, when they lost in the AFC Championship game to the Patriots. Before that, it was 2010 when they lost in the Super Bowl to the Packers. Otherwise, you’re looking a nothing but early playoff exits and a whole lotta .500 ball or (slightly) better. I think this is precisely what the Seahawks want to be. Who’s more respected than the Steelers? They’ve had, like, 3 head coaches in the last 60 years or some shit. They’re rarely – if ever – truly bad; but outside of the Ben Roethlisberger era, they’re rarely great either. And, even in that Roethlisberger era, it was certainly front-loaded. For as talented as he was, later in his career, that team could never carry him over the finish line like the Broncos did with an elderly Peyton Manning.

I want to believe the Seahawks – upon finishing 9-8 again, or maybe even 10-7 and sneaking into a wild card spot – will cut ties with Geno Smith and make a serious push in the next year or two at drafting a quarterback of the future. Because how many of these mediocre finishes can we withstand? It’s the fucking WORST! I’d rather be fucking 3-14 than lose in the wild card round again.

But, I dunno. If Mike Macdonald is going to stick around here, he needs to do something great in the first couple years. Making a wild card as a rookie head coach might buy him a couple extra seasons, but will it also encourage this organization to stay the course? To put their faith in Geno Smith? To continue struggling to fill the O-Line because you can’t get any good linemen in the 20’s of the NFL draft?

It kinda feels like we’re in for another five years of this shit, until ultimately the entire house is swept away. Until the team is sold, Schneider is fired, and Macdonald is back coordinating defenses again. At which point, I’ll be pushing 50.

Good God, the passage of time is a cruel bitch.