By Bob Dutton The News Tribune
SEATTLE — Somewhat lost Tuesday in his comments regarding a contract extension for general manager Jack Zduriencik, club president Kevin Mather revealed the Seattle Mariners’ strategy prior to the trade deadline.
“We are trying to get into the playoffs,” Mather said. “We would like to make the playoffs. This town, this community, they’ve been very supportive. We’d love to get into the playoffs.
“That said, the wild card is different. The new collective-bargaining system, it’s tough for wild-card teams to win now. They’ve got it stacked against you.”
The Mariners, who haven’t been in postseason since 2001, have a one-half-game lead over Detroit in the battle for the American League’s final wild-card berth.
They were also seven games behind first-place Los Angeles in the American League West.
They were further back on July 31, the morning of the non-waiver trade deadline: Three games back for the final wild-card spot and 11 games behind in the AL West.
A review: The postseason format calls for a one-game playoff between the two wild-card teams. The winner joins the three division winners in a best-of-five round. The loser goes home.
“We weren’t going to sell our souls (at the trade deadline) for a one-game, wild-card opportunity,” Mather said. “We’ve got talent here, and we’re going to be good for a long time. We truly believe that.
“We not only have young kids here, we have young kids coming. Let’s remember that. We’ve been pleasantly surprised, and now we’re fighting like heck to get into (the playoffs). Heck, we’d like to win the West.”
The Mariners acquired outfielder Austin Jackson from Detroit in a three-team deal that sent minor-league infielder Nick Franklin to Tampa Bay.
They also got outfielder Chris Denorfia from San Diego for minor-league outfielder Abraham Almonte.
Those deals came one week after the Mariners reacquired designated hitter/first baseman Kendrys Morales from Minnesota for minor-league reliever Stephen Pryor.
The Mariners, even after Wednesday’s loss, are 17-8 since the deadline. Only Kansas City, at 20-6, is better among American League teams.
“I thought the trades were very strategic,” Mather said. “They weren’t crazy, but were strategic, and they seem to be paying off.”