Saturday, June 06, 2009
The major league baseball season is about a third of the way done, and my Seattle Mariners are actually still in the American League West race, sort of.
In 2008 the M's were a miserable 61-101 but so far this year they are 27-29 and 6 games behind the division-leading Texas Rangers. A record of 27-29 isn't exactly better than mediocre, but it's unexpectedly good considering how poorly the team did last year.
New Seattle General Manager Jack Zduriencik and the ballclub have some interesting decisions ahead. The major league trading deadline is July 31. Seattle has some players who could be coveted by other teams. If the Mariners are not in contention anymore by the end of July, they could be "sellers" on the market.
Starting pitchers Jarrod Washburn and Erik Bedard are both in the American League top ten for earned run average. First Baseman Russell Branyan has been hitting for both power and batting average this year. Third baseman Adrian Beltre is in the last year of his contract, and after a slow start he has been hitting very well in the past couple of weeks. Washburn and Bedard are in the last years of their contracts, as is starter/reliever Miguel Batista.
The Mariners have good pitching, but their problem this year has been hitting. If they're out of contention in July, they could send their tradeable players to contending teams for prospect players who could help stock Seattle's minor league system with young talent and build the team's chances for the future.
But what if the M's are still playing .500 ball by the trading deadline, do they keep some or all of these tradeable players and instead trade some of their younger talent for a couple of veteran hitters, to allow the team to stay in the AL West race late into the season?
I don't think they are likely to still be contending by July 31 because their hitting is just too weak. But this season sure has been fun so far. After a 61-101 year, even mediocrity is enjoyable!