Mariner fans, it’s not time to panic, yet. Sure teams around the division, as well as the league as a whole, are splashing the cash, hoping to get deals done before the impending lockout beginning December 1st. While the Rangers seem to be throwing money at practically anything that moves, signing the likes of Marcus Semien, Jon Gray, Kole Calhoun as well as still remaining in the hunt for Trevor Story and Corey Seager, the Mariners seem to just be standing idly by. This treading of water may induce a feeling all too familiar to Mariners fans, one of unfulfilled promises, unmet expectations, and you may begin to think of the dreaded phrase, “Mariners gonna Mariner”, but it is significantly too early for emotions of that sort.
First off, there is a literal metric ton of talent still left on the FA market. Names like Marcus Stroman, Kris Bryant, the aforementioned Story, are all currently without an MLB club to call home. The Mariners have been linked with all of those three and signing one if not two would be sufficient in calling this offseason a “success” if they are the marquee signing of the class. The rumor mill has circulated that Bryant is unlikely to sign before the December 1st deadline, instead opting to explore the free agency market in a new landscape as created by a new CBA. What that means is, if the acquisition of Adam Frazier isn’t enough to tide you over till the next signing, it might be time to invest in some anxiety medication.
Trust Jerry Dipoto
Jerry Dipoto and the Mariners FO have made numerous claims about splashing the cash this offseason, and Mariners fans as a collective fanbase should both believe him, but hold him accountable if he fails to deliver. Dipoto had a questionable trade-deadline this past year, making claims of a “flurry of moves” that would make the Graveman-Toro trade (that the Mariners won) make more sense, but instead, his lofty words amounted to a total haul of Diego Castillo and half of a season of Tyler Anderson. That wasn’t enough then, and a return of the sort this offseason should be met with criticism equally.
If Dipoto and the front office attempt to champion an offseason haul of Frazier, as well as pieces like Michael Conforto and Danny Duffy, Mariners fans have the right to be upset. It’s well-known that Dipoto has a tendency to love to talk, and in rather braggadocious fashion, but if he writes yet another acquisitional check with his words he cannot cash with his actions, it’s fair to expect backlash.
The good news is, there’s still a significant amount of time before a reaction like that would be necessary. Yes, some big name FA’s have come off the market in the past two days. And yes, admittedly some of them are ones that felt like the Mariners should have been pushing for harder. However, it’s worth looking at a little deeper. Marcus Semien’s deal with the Rangers is, for all intents and purposes, just a horrid piece of business. The Rangers, regardless of whatever magical offseason they may end up having, are not close to contention. Despite that, they handed a more than generous seven-year, $175M payday to the 31-year-old second basemen.
The Mariners were right to not compete with that offer, and letting him walk elsewhere was the right move. You can make big moves without making financially questionable decisions. Look at the Gausman deal in Toronto, for an example. Five-years $110M is a good piece of business, and the Mariners shouldn’t have fallen short on that deal. It was rumored that the bidding for Gausman’s services was down to the Mets, Mariners, and Blue Jays, and Seattle coming up short there is a little bit disappointing, but promising in the sense that they are offering contracts in the space upwards of $100M.
With all the talent left on the market, pushing the panic button and assuming the Mariners are going to collapse as they are so accustomed to may feel like the decision you’re leaning towards, but I urge you to step away from that ledge. Sports fans, just like any person, are more comfortable in a situation that is familiar to them. Mariners fans are comfortable with despair, with that feeling of coming up just short, but there’s time to point this ship in the right direction. I urge you to hold steadfast.
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