The date is April 3rd, 2014 and the Mariners just beat the Anaheim Angels 8-2 to complete the three-game sweep. Hector Noesi steals the win that is rightfully Paxton’s. Smoak, Hart, and Zunino hit a trifecta of dingers. After all of those years of mediocrity and losing, things are looking up! We’re hitting the ball hard, and we’re pitching well. What on Earth could stop this surging Mariners team?
Fast forward to today, and the Mariners are set to take on the Miami Marlins (who if I may add, are 7th in the MLB in offensive WAR). By the looks of things, something on Earth has stopped the formerly surging Mariners team. Things have changed, and the general outlook has become more pessimistic and bleak. Blake Beavan, Logan Morrison, and James Paxton have all decided to keep Taijuan Walker and Hisashi Iwakuma company on the disabled list. Robinson Cano has been worth exactly 0 WAR over 15 games, and Kyle Seager’s triple slash line of .143/.288/.204 wouldn’t be acceptable for a National League pitcher.
It hasn’t been all bad, and I think there’s a lot of room to be optimistic. Dustin Ackley is hitting the crap out of the ball, and Corey Hart and Mike Zunino are starting to really heat up. Felix has already been worth 1.1 WAR and has set off on a rampant pace to start the season. Dominic Leone has looked legit and has flashed a nice repertoire. Nick Franklin is up after starting off well in Tacoma. And hey, Eric Wedge isn’t manager! Smile!
Mariners fans are very quick to react. After the Angels series, it was our division for the taking! After the Texas series, we became the same old Mariners team and were deemed to be below everyone in the division aside from the lowly Houston Astros. With such a young team, there are going to be rough patches during the season and at times it’s going to be pretty ugly. There’s logic behind thinking the Mariners can still be good with this roster. Kyle Seager and Brad Miller are going to improve, and I am confident in that. Iwakuma and Paxton will shore up this rotation and bring our overall pitching from middle of the back to a top ten group in the league.
In 2012, Robinson Cano hit one home run in April. He must have not been very good for the rest of the year then, right? Wrong. He went on to hit a career high 33 home runs and was worth a career high 7.7 WAR. This could mean nothing, and this could mean something. It probably means one of the two! Expect to see the good Mariners and expect to see the bad Mariners. By the end of the season, I expect to see at least .500 ball from our beloved (and sometimes loathed) Mariners. For the time being, the M’s will try their best to keep their heads above water until Kuma and Paxton can throw them a life preserver.
by Michael Ajeto