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!