I know nobody wants to hear it. Teams are snakebitten every year; all teams have to deal with injuries at one point or another. But, it’s also no secret that the teams you chronically see going on deep playoff runs tend to be the teams that are predominantly healthy. Unsustainably healthy. You won’t see this type of freaky health from year to year, but if you can get lucky in one season, you can go a long way with your primary guys avoiding stints on the DL.
The Mariners have been spectacularly unlucky in 2016. There hasn’t been a single day this year where some key piece hasn’t been missing. This team has never been complete! And, it seems like just as soon as one guy gets healthy, another guy goes down.
Look at this timeline of guys hitting the DL:
- 4/3 – Furbush & Scribner (key bullpen pieces)
- 4/25 – Benoit (had he been healthy all year, a guy you could expect would have been a lockdown 8th inning guy)
- 5/3 – Zych (was dominating through the first month, has missed most of the season)
- 5/22 – Marte (just when he was starting to assert himself as one of the better short stops in the American League)
- 5/27 – Martin (Mariners have no competent backup defensive centerfielder on their roster; defense suffered accordingly while he was out. He was also on a hot stretch offensively when he went down)
- 6/1 – King Felix (I don’t need to tell you how huge this was)
- 6/17 – Miley (he wasn’t good, but it further depleted a shaky starting rotation)
- 6/24 – Sampson (he only made one start, but we never got to know his potential)
- 6/29 – Vincent (further depleting our bullpen at the worst possible time)
- 6/30 – Clevenger (was set for increased playing time, but ultimately worked out with Zunino’s return)
- 7/6 – Walker (was supposed to be his breakout year, but the nagging foot issue inhibited his growth)
- 7/23 – Marte again (mono, really)
- 7/30 – Karns (never really popped this year, but again, lack of depth for our pitching staff)
- 8/4 – Cishek (his injury might have been a key part of him blowing those saves and losing his closer’s job)
- 8/16 – Paxton (just when he was starting to dominate the league)
- 8/22 – Storen (just as the bullpen was starting to gel into a dominant unit)
And that doesn’t even factor in Kyle Seager, who’s missing games this week, as well as Cano and Cruz at times this year missing games due to minor injuries. Suffice it to say, I’ve seen O’Malley and Freeman start more games than I care to see.
If the Mariners could just get their best 25 guys to stay healthy for any extended period of time, you’d be looking at a no-doubt playoff team! Probably one giving the Rangers a serious run for their money! As it is, it’s a miracle the Mariners have held in there as long as they have.