Seattle Mariners vs Washington Nationals: Last One to the World Series?
The Nationals have one Division Championship to their name, back when they were the Montreal Expos in 1981. That year was also the only year they made it to the National League Championship Series.
Also, unfortunately for the franchise, in 1994 when they were the Expos, they had a league leading 74-40 record before the season was shortened by the strike, killing any playoff hopes that team had.
That 1994 team was loaded with such players as Moises Alou, Larry Walker and Pedro Martinez.
On the other side, we have the Mariners.
The M's have three division titles as well as one wild card berth. Obviously, never going beyond the ALCS.
The 2001 Mariners tied the Major League record for single-season wins with 116, but failed to cap the season with a ring.
The 1995 Mariners, having one of the best comebacks in ALDS history against the Yankees, were loaded with young talent with the likes of Ken Griffey Jr, Alex Rodriguez, Edgar Martinez and Randy Johnson. Once again not going beyond the ALCS.
So, both teams have had their chances in the past, some better than others, with neither taking advantage.
How about the future?
Let’s compare the two and see if we can find a clear answer as to which team will not be the last one to reach the Series.
Beyond Strasburg and all the hype that surrounds him, the Nats don’t have a ton of talent in this department. John Lannan and Jordan Zimmerman have been improving, but can these guys round out a rotation that could lead them through the playoffs? Livan seems like he might pitch forever but he has to retire sooner or later.
On the other hand, in Seattle the future of the rotation looks bright. Obviously, King Felix is top notch. Beyond him, Pineda has shown ace potential. They also have a few promising prospects coming up in James Paxton, Danny Hultzen and Taijuan Walker.
Washington has a pretty solid bullpen. Tyler Clippard is lights out and made the All Star team this year to prove it. Todd Coffey and Sean Burnett are reliable arms out of the bullpen and Henry Rodriguez pumps.
The Mariners had some surprises out of the bullpen this year, but nothing they can rely on long term. Brandon League had a nice year, but was shaky at moments. It was good to see Shawn Kelley come back and Aardsma should return next year sometime, as well. The M’s need young guys like Dan Cortes and Josh Leuke to figure it out in order for this bullpen to be strong enough to advance through the playoffs.
Many Nats fans think the Jayson Werth signing was ridiculous, and rightfully so. His stats were nowhere near the same as they were in Philly. Good thing for Nationals fans, they have Bryce Harper. If he lives up to the hype, he can be one of the best in the game. Put him out there with Jayson Werth and Jonny Gomes and the Nats could have a pretty good outfield.
The Mariners outfield is sort of a messy situation. Ichiro will be in right field for at least a few more years. If Guttieruez can figure out his stomach problems and get his power back, he is a solid CF on both sides of the ball. Left field is a mess, with many young guys trying to find playing time over there including Trayvon Robinson, Michael Saunders, Casper Wells, Greg Halman and Mike Carp. Although Carp will most likely end up at DH.
The Nationals got a nice surprise this year with the play of ex-Mariner Michael Morse. And although Ryan Zimmerman was hurt for much of the year, we all know he is one of the best third basemen in the Majors. Ian Desmond gets better and better every time I watch him play. Danny Espinosa, already very good, is also improving every year. The ages of those four: 29, 27, 24, 26. That is a long and bright future of an already solid group. Not to mention recently drafted Anthony Rendon, who may or may not pan out.
The Mariners also have a bright future within the infield. Dustin Ackley came up and proved to everyone that he is the real deal. M’s fans should be excited to see what he can do with an entire season. Justin Smoak had a shaky year but has all the talent in the world to be a powerful middle of the lineup type guy. Obviously, Brendan Ryan is a sort of stop-gap for the M’s, with young SS talent in Nick Franklin and Carlos Triunfel coming up. Third base has been a hole recently with the signing of Chone Figgins. A few young guys like Kyle Seager and Alex Liddi may take advantage of the situation and take over that position in the future.
Wilson Ramos is a star in the making. Flores is a decent back up for now. I don’t think Pudge will be around much longer.
The M’s can’t rely on Miguel Olivo forever, especially when he is hitting in the low two hundreds. Adam Moore is running out of chances to be the M’s future backstop.
Davey Johnson has been around forever and is 68 years old. Is he the long-term solution at manager for the Nats? I don’t think so.
Eric Wedge has experience re-building young teams like he did in Cleveland. He knows what he wants and he expects the best from all his players. Now he needs to get that handlebar mustache back.
Washington has the advantage at 3-2-1.
Both teams have a steep hill to climb, but they both also have very bright futures.
The Nats play in the NL East with the Phillies and Braves, who are obviously always competing. The M’s play in the AL West, where the Rangers are looking to go back to the World Series for the second year in a row.
So who do I think will reach the Series first in order to not be the last?
I’m going way out on a limb here by saying the 2014 World Series will be a Seattle Mariners VS Washington Nationals matchup.
What do you think?