Is this yet another rebuilding year for the Seattle Mariners?
When the Mariners were 20-21, it was looking like this franchise was finally starting to figure things out. Then, the Mariners suffered through a grueling—and sometimes heartbreaking—eight-game losing streak.
Now, as of May 26, the Mariners are 11 games out of first place.
That sure happened fast.
If it weren’t for the lowly Houston Astros, Seattle would again be in the cellar of the American League West.
Is there any hope for 2013? Do the fans believe that this team can win? Or, must fans keep looking one, two or three years into the future and hope that someday the youngsters will all magically come together at the same time?
There are obviously positive signs. Kendrys Morales and Kyle Seager have provided some genuinely positive offensive production for this team. Granted, Seattle will be faced with a potentially expensive extension if Morales keeps hitting.
Despite getting roughed up May 25, Felix Hernandez is having another excellent season, and Hisashi Iwakuma is having an even more effective season from a statistical standpoint. In the bullpen, Tom Wilhelmsen has been dominant, posting a 0.41 ERA and 11 saves through May 26.
And yet, the Mariners have been out of sync. They have scored runs at times, but the hitting has not been timely, and certain players continue to struggle.
The shortstop position in general has produced very little offense. Dustin Ackley has been in a season-long slump. Jesus Montero was unable to contribute before being sent down to Tacoma. Justin Smoak is, well, Justin Smoak.
Franklin Gutierrez cannot stay healthy...again.
The Mariners aren’t the worst-hitting team in Major League Baseball this year, but they are only 27th. Seattle is ninth in home runs, but the team is 25th in runs and 25th in RBI. The Mariners are getting more hits this year, but they are also leaving guys on base.
There is one glaring statistic. The Mariners are fourth in the league in strikeouts. Lots of whiffs. Think that has something to do with the lack of offense?
How do you maintain faith that this team can win?
The unfortunate reality is that the Mariners still lack star power, swagger and a general attitude of winning. Seattle has not exactly matched the historical ineptitude of the Chicago Cubs, but the franchise does seem to be in a multi-year slump.
We keep hearing about all of these talented prospects in the minor leagues who will someday lead this club back to relevance. These players include Mike Zunino, Nick Franklin, Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen, James Paxton, Stefen Romero and Brad Miller.
The names keep sounding good, and they are on plenty of “hot” prospect lists. However, when are they coming? 2015?
As noted Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times, veterans led the way in the dramatic 13-inning win over the Texas Rangers that finally ended the eight-game losing streak. However, some people are still not pulling their weight, and it shows:
Geoff Baker @GeoffBakerTIMES
A look at the veterans who snapped the #Mariners 8-game losing streak and who still isn't doing enough. http://t.co/XE0oFfx96a2013-5-27 02:52:14
Where is this team going?