In case you didn’t notice, the Seattle Mariners’ season ended Sunday.
Sunday’s 3-1 victory over the Texas Rangers was largely obscured by the Seattle Seahawks and all the Earl Thomas drama. Indeed, the Mariners kind of fell out of the local consciousness around the middle of September, when losses to the dreadful San Diego Padres for all intents and purposes knocked Seattle out of playoff contention, allowing local sports fans to turn their full attention toward football.
And yet, Sunday’s victory was Seattle’s 89th of the season. The Mariners finished the campaign 16 games above .500 at 89-73. That’s the best record Seattle’s had since 2003, when the Mariners won 93 games in their fourth straight 90-win season. From a record standpoint, the 2018 season was Seattle’s fifth best in its 42-year history.
There were many positives about this season for the Mariners. The team won games and was in contention to end its 16-year playoff drought right up to the final month of the season. Seattle played exciting games, playing the most one-run games of any team in baseball (56) and going an impressive 36-21 in those games. The Mariners were an incredible 14-1 in extra-inning contests. Closer Edwin Diaz had one of the best seasons ever put together by a relief pitcher with 57 saves and 124 strikeouts in 73.1 innings. Designated hitter Nelson Cruz continued to defy age and had another big year, slugging 37 homers. Outfielder Mitch Haniger developed into an All-Star. And the Mariners overachieved, beating not only preseason projections, but finishing far better than their minus-34 run differential suggested they should.
But there were disappointments, too. Longtime ace pitcher Felix Hernandez continued his decline and now appears to be a shell of the player who carried Seattle’s pitching staff for so long. Second baseman Robinson Cano tarnished his reputation when he was suspended 80 games for testing positive for a banned substance. On July 3 the Mariners were 55-31, a half-game out of first place in the AL West and eight games clear of Oakland for the league’s final wild card playoff spot, but Seattle went 24-35 over the next two months as the A’s zoomed past the M’s and made the final weeks academic. General manager Jerry Dipoto’s trades to win this year didn’t pan out, and no young players from the farm system broke through to provide added hope for the future, prompting one observer who will remain nameless to call for a complete tear down.
So there’s a lot of conflicting information when it comes to evaluating Seattle’s season.
How do you feel about the Mariners’ 2018 season? Was it a positive one, as shown by Seattle’s final record? Or was it a negative one, because of the way the team lost its playoff position and extended its postseason-less stretch to 17 seasons?
Give the 2018 Mariners your grade here: