It seems Seattle Mariners watchers aren’t impressed by how the team’s rebuild has begun.
This week’s Seattle Sidelines poll asked readers to get their grading pens out. The Mariners admitted before the season began that this would be a rebuilding year. They emphasized that by trading away a slew of core players during the offseason in exchange for prospects, then flipped more veterans once the season began.
Therefore, results this season are less important than how the team sets itself up for success in the future. So instead of grading the first half of the season, this week’s poll asked readers to grade the Mariners for their first half-season of rebuilding. Here are your marks:
POLL: With the Mariners now past the season’s midpoint, what grade do you give them in their rebuild? Full context, including an examination of how the rebuild is going, here: https://t.co/Ap2xvPabgD
— Nick Patterson (@NickHPatterson) July 1, 2019
Merge the two together and readers think the Mariners need tutoring help. More than 70 percent of responders gave Seattle a C or lower, with 39 percent handing out a C and 33 percent marking down to D/F. Twenty-three percent gave the Mariners a B, while just 5 percent rated Seattle an A.
First, let’s address the discrepancy between the Twitter and blog polls. The marks on the blog were somewhat better than on Twitter. The original blog post detailed some of the things that have gone right and wrong with regards to rebuilding over the first three months of the season, and I suspect seeing those details laid out influenced the blog voters in a more positive direction compared to the voters on Twitter, who had no details to work with.
That said, while the marks were somewhat higher on the blog, they still weren’t great — more than half gave the Mariners a C or lower.
I have to say, I find this surprising.
I get that the Mariners are having the type of season that’s become all too familiar since Seattle last made the playoffs in 2001. The Mariners are in last place in the American League West, have essentially been eliminated from postseason contention prior to the all-star break, and good luck naming who happens to be in the bullpen on any given day.
But I have to ask: What did people expect? The Houston Astros are the gold standard for baseball rebuilds, with a team on track for its third straight 100-win season. But to make this happen the Astros had to suffer through three straight 100-loss seasons from 2011-13. If a team is going to rebuild, it’s going to go through some pain, and this Seattle team isn’t anywhere near as bad as those Houston teams were at their nadir.
And I think the team has taken steps to create optimism for the future, something the organization has been sorely missing. For the first time in a long time the Mariners have both youngish major-league players who are producing, as well as prospects worth getting excited about.
I don’t know that the execution of the early stages of the rebuild have been flawless, and I have serious doubts about general manager Jerry Dipoto’s stated timeline of the window for contention opening in 2021. But the moves to replenish the minor-league system, along with the payroll flexibility Seattle will have beginning next year, makes me think Seattle has at least laid some groundwork.
Feel free to disagree, and I understand if you don’t trust Dipoto to be the one to successfully navigate Seattle through a rebuild. But in my opinion, what we saw the first half of the season indicates the rebuild is off to a solid start.