Back in early April I wrote a post centering on my concern as to just how good a team the Seattle Mariners could be this year. This post came on the heels of a 16-9 drubbing at home at the hands of the Houston Astros. The M’s went on to lose that series to the ‘Stros, but a couple of readers rightly pointed out that it was way too early in the season to be pushing the panic button. Now, on May 26th, I no longer think it’s too early.
Last night Seattle lost their eighth straight game, this time to division-leading Texas. They are now in fourth place trailing the tremendously disappointing Angels by two games, and I really think it’s time for some heads to start rolling out there in the Pacific Northwest. This year the Mariners have the same problem that they’ve had virtually every year since Edgar Martinez retired: They have zero offense. The fact that their starting rotation is basically only two men deep, Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma, doesn’t help much either. But even those two guys can’t be expected to pitch shutouts every time out, which is pretty much the position this anemic offense puts them in EVERY… SINGLE… TIME. So, aside from the players themselves, who’s to blame?
For starters, what has manager Eric Wedge done to retain his job? Since joining Seattle in 2011 his record is a combined 162-211, not exactly inspiring numbers. Look, I’m sure the guy who was named 2007’s Manager of the Year with Cleveland has plenty going for him but, thus far this season, we haven’t seen much of it. I tend to agree with Harold Reynolds on at least one aspect of Wedge’s managerial approach, he needs to find a batting order that he’s comfortable with and stick with it for a few games. It’s one thing to play percentages and get guys playing time, but another to keep juggling the order so that no one knows who’s playing/hitting where on any given evening. Stability may not be the answer to woeful run support, but it can’t hurt.
Higher up the ladder, it may be time for General Manager Jack Zduriencik to hit the bricks. This is his fifth season as the M’s personnel decision-maker, and in that time the team has been outscored by upwards of 400 runs. Not good. I’ll admit that I actually thought that some of the deals he made were ok, but virtually none of them has panned out. From Justin Smoak to recently demoted catcher-who-can’t-actually-catch Jesus Montero, it’s been one exploding stove after another for Jack Z. (That’s another thing, the guy’s last name is impossible to spell!) Anyway, Seattle reportedly has some pretty good prospects in the minors, but apparently none of them know how to hit. It can’t continue like this. When a rebuilding project shows no end in sight it’s no longer a rebuilding project, it’s just a lousy team.
I’m still holding out faint hope that Seattle can turn this losing streak around and start winning some games but I just don’t think the current Wedge/Zduriencik model will pan out over the long haul.