So how’s that rebuild going?
The Seattle Mariners passed the midway point of the 2019 season last week, and as of Monday they found themselves with an all-too-familiar type of record — Seattle was 37-51 and in last place in the American League West, with almost no sign of ending the playoff drought that’s lasted since 2001. If we were evaluating the Mariners at the midpoint strictly based on results, Seattle would receive pretty dismal grades.
However, the Mariners made no secret during the offseason that this was going to be a rebuilding year. Core players were traded during the offseason in exchange for prospects, and general manager Jerry Dipoto acknowledged that this season’s results weren’t as important as setting the team up to contend in the future.
So instead of evaluating the Mariners at the midpoint based on this season alone, let’s evaluate the Mariners in their rebuild. Do the Mariners have their rebuild on the right track?
First, let’s look at some of the positives:
- The Mariners were looking for some of their youngish players, many of whom were acquired during the offseason, to show they could be part of a winning team down the line. So far that looks to be the case, as the likes of catcher Omar Narvaez, outfielder Domingo Santana, designated hitter Dan Vogelbach and shortstop J.P. Crawford have contributed, and all four are under team control through 2021.
- Seattle had a pretty barren minor-league system prior to the offseason trades, and the hope was the prospects acquired in those trades would develop into the type of impact major leaguers the Mariners have struggled to develop on their own. So far the likes of outfielder Jarred Kelenic and pitcher Justin Dunn have performed as advertised, and with pitcher Logan Gilbert taking off the way he has Seattle finally has a stable of prospects worthy of getting excited about.
- Seattle picked up some veterans in those offseason trades with the intent of flipping them to contenders. The Mariners have successfully sold off most of those veterans, including Anthony Swarzak, Jay Bruce and Edwin Encarnacion. Now, Seattle didn’t get much in the way of return for those players, but they did receive some payroll flexibility, so it’s up to you to determine how much of a positive those trades turned out to be.
But not everything has gone exactly as hoped. Some of the negatives:
- Japanese pitcher Yusei Kikuchi was signed to a lucrative contract during the offseason with the idea he would be someone who could slot in toward to the top of Seattle’s starting rotation. However, he has yet to show he’s anything more than a middle-of-the-rotation type.
- Not all of the prospects Seattle received during the offseason have fulfilled their promise just yet. Chief among those is pitcher Justus Sheffield, who was the jewel of the trade that sent pitcher James Paxton to the New York Yankees. Sheffield struggled in his one appearance with Seattle, and has been roughed up at triple-A. He’s back in double-A working things out, and though he’s having more success, it still represents a step backward.
So how do you think the Mariners are doing in their rebuild so far? Give Seattle its midseason rebuild grade here: