For real. It’s time.
We are officially 8.5 games behind the A’s for the second wild card spot, with 18 games to go. So, stick a fork in the Mariners everyone!
If that isn’t bad enough, we’ve fallen so far that the Tampa Bay Rays of all teams have officially caught us in the standings. A team that really wasn’t trying to Win Now at the trade deadline – sending away some quality talent for prospects – has done so good in its second half run that the Mariners are doomed to fall two teams out of the playoffs. Fantastic.
Here are my thoughts on what the Mariners should do this off-season.
Bye Bye Nelson Cruz
People were talking about extending Nelson Cruz throughout the year, as he’s on the final year of his deal. Which, of course, got me to wondering what the M’s should do this off-season to try to improve. SHOULD they extend Cruz? Abso-fucking-lutely-fucking-not! Dude’s hitting .260! Sure, he’s got 34 homers, but that’s ALL he’s got! He has a whopping 16 doubles and is easily on pace for his lowest double count in a Mariners uniform. Dude can’t run, can’t hit for average; if he’s not swinging dingers or grabbing the occasional walk, he’s totally useless.
Let’s see Nelson Cruz for what he is: one of the best free agent signings in Mariners history. We got four REALLY GREAT years out of the guy. If you asked me at the time of signing, I would’ve told you I hoped for 2 great years, 1 okay year, and 1 dreadful year. The fact that we’ve milked that cow for all he’s worth is pretty fucking astounding. LET’S LEAVE IT AT THAT! Let’s remember Nelson Cruz fondly! Let’s be able to look back and say we MAYBE got rid of him a year too early, rather than a year too late. For what it’s worth, I think getting rid of him after this season is RIGHT ON TIME, but regardless, he’s not getting any better.
From there, that opens us up to options. But, all I want to see is this team shedding salary and shedding talent for high-level prospects.
Trade James Paxton
He’s never going to be fully, 100% healthy in any full season ever. He’s never going to be any better than he’s been this year. His value has peaked. He’s still got 2 more Arbitration years, so that contract is in great shape. We should be able to get ELITE-level prospects for a guy like Paxton, so jump at the opportunity.
Trade Mitch Haniger
You’re not going to get any prospects of quality whatsoever for the real dregs of this team: Seager, Cano, Felix; so we’re going to have to trade some players of actual value if we’re going to rebuild this organization. Haniger has 4 more years left of team control and he’s already an All Star; his value will never be higher. We should be able to get a TON of prospects for him.
Trade Edwin Diaz
Unless he’s the next Mariano Rivera, relievers don’t have a long shelf life. Particularly ones who regularly throw in the high 90’s and have an awkward-looking arm slot. Diaz just strikes me as a guy who’s going to have elbow and/or shoulder problems, MAYBE as early as next year. He’s leading all of baseball in saves, he’s the best closer in the game, ergo we should make a KILLING in this trade.
Dump Robinson Cano or Put Him At DH
I’m in the camp that we’ll never be able to move Cano’s salary. He’s making $24 million per year for the next 5 years. If a team offered the Mariners literally ANYTHING for Cano – even if it’s a low-level PTBNL – you jump at the opportunity. Hell, even if we have to send a bunch of millions over to make the deal work, whatever money we can save while getting out from under that contract, you do it. You also do it because, frankly, I think Cano still has some value to a team. I think he’s still a pretty good player. And, for the objective of the Mariners blowing it up, we don’t WANT pretty good players on this team. We want useless assholes who can’t hit, can’t pitch, and suck at fielding. We’re not going to make the playoffs anyway, might as well be the very WORST team in the league.
If I’m right, and we can’t deal Cano for a bag of balls, then he’s got to slot over to DH. That’s where he’s destined to go in his old age anyway. If we’re going to be stuck with him for five more years, then we’re going to get the most value out of him at the DH spot.
Dump Dee Gordon or Leave Him At 2B
Dee’s another guy who’s owed a ton of money – an average of $13.5 million per year over the next 3 years – so it’s not likely we’d get anything for him. Again, MAYBE a bag of balls, and probably only if we shell out some millions to get someone else to take him off our hands.
I’m less upset about being stuck with Dee because he’s fun. He’s also not really that good. Assuming he doesn’t regain his former hitting form as a .300 hitter, he should be a nice little drain on this team as we try to tank for the #1 overall draft pick the next few years.
Get Rid Of Kyle Seager
We’ve got Seager for $18-19 million per year for the next three years (his buyout in 2022 should be nominal). So, like Cano and Dee, that’s a tough one to move. However, I could see moving him as a more plausible objective based on the fact that he’s pretty well-liked in baseball circles. He very well could just need a change of scenery to get his bat and his mojo going again. Put him in a stadium with a short porch in right field and let him go to work yanking balls down the line; how are the Red Sox stocked at third base?
Either way, he’s got to go. Unless he’s hiding some secret injury that we won’t hear about until after the season, I don’t see him turning his career around at all in Seattle. He’s just TOO bad.
Keep Mike Zunino
He’s not any good anyway. Plus, I just don’t see us getting anything of value back in trade, considering he’s never been able to hit and he seemingly never will. Zunino is going to be cheap for the next 2 years anyway, so keep him, and try to develop his replacement when he’s a free agent and we let him walk.
Don’t You Touch My Felix!
He’s got one more year to go. He’s earning $27 million next year. No one will pick up that salary. We’d likely have to send $20 million with him just to get rid of him for zero prospects. Plus, I like Felix, he’s still ours, and YOU CAN’T HAVE HIM I DON’T CARE HOW BAD HE GETS!
Think of it like this, if he continues to pitch worse and worse, then that helps the Mariners tank, and maybe he retires at the end of the year and will go down as the greatest Mariners pitcher of all time who never played for any other organization. Or, in the off chance he turns his career around and turns into a Bartolo Colon type, then great! Maybe we can extend him at a team-friendly salary season-to-season and enjoy Felix in his overweight twilight years.
Only Trade Segura If There’s Good Value
For who he is, he’s actually got a pretty friendly contract all the way through 2023. Even though he’s been dinged up with minor aches & pains recently, he’s still hitting over .300. If another team offers the M’s a nice package of prospects, then absolutely jump on it! But, don’t make him a straight up salary drop; wait for the teams to come to us and maybe start a bidding war if possible.
Here’s the deal: Jeff Passan brought up a good point yesterday on Brock & Salk; when asked if the M’s should just blow it up, he asked if we’re ready to be terrible for the next 5 years. And, as Salk mentioned, we’ve been pretty fucking terrible for the last 17, so what’s 5 more?
The Astros aren’t going away. The A’s are young and solid. The Angels are never going to stop trying to build around Trout and they’ve proven to be willing to over-spend on superstars. The Rangers are already in the midst of their rebuild, so they’ve got a head start on us. I don’t want to just contend for Wild Cards every year! I don’t want to go dumpster diving for veterans on 1-year prove-it deals to try to make this fucked up nucleus work! I don’t want to watch Nelson Cruz get booed and look shitty at the plate. And I don’t really want to see what Robinson Cano looks like in the final couple years of his deal.
I want a total and complete rebuild, with high-level prospects. I want the organization to stick to its philosophy of Controlling The Zone and defense and all that, and I want them to bring in guys who FIT that philosophy!
I’m just tired of losing all the fucking time … so let’s lose A WHOLE LOT for a few years, then hopefully be great for a while after that.
And yeah, I get it, the Astros’ model is no guarantee. If we draft the wrong guys, if we don’t develop them properly, if we get unlucky with injuries, then it can all still go to shit and we can be right back where we started. In a perpetual loop of utter fucking incompetence. But, at least it’s trying something different.
I’m already numb to the Mariners sucking. They’ve been doing it all my life. Even when they were good, they still sucked when it counted! The M’s falling apart this second half has hardly hit me at all. Oh sure, I’ve been mad a few times, but more than anything I’m just resigned to my fate. It’s never going to get good until we let it get really fucking bad.
So, blow it up, Mariners. Do the right thing. Let the Astros and A’s run their course and by the time they’re old and crappy, maybe we’ll be in a position to be the NEW Astros.
Gotta have hope, after all. And, with the roster as it’s currently constructed, there is none.