2021 Seattle Mariners: Alive in the Superunknown

Yelling At Clouds

Post-darwinian
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
2,643
So despite the fact that their offseason was bad (disastrous, really), and despite the fact that I have no connection to the city of Seattle - I’ve never even been there! - I’ve been following this year’s Mariners. The combination of an up-and-coming roster, a long playoff drought, and a bold front office seemed intriguing. I assure you all that I started this before the season, too, although I’m not going to judge anyone for jumping on the bandwagon now that they’re in first place.

I don’t expect them to keep this up;
I don’t expect them to keep this up;
I’ve been having fun following them, so I figured I’d start this thread, even if I wind up as its sole contributor. To start the ball rolling, I’ll copy over what I said in the April Game Thread (lightly edited):

“They’re an interesting team. On the one hand, they’ve been outscored, and most of their young players are not playing very well right now. But Haniger is playing well, they get Lewis back this week, and they will get Kelenic soon enough, so there’s still some upside. If the rest of the kids start figuring it out, then they could be going places. They almost certainly won’t make the playoffs, but the role of “previously bad team who starts to get good ahead of schedule” is a plausible possibility - as long as DiPoto resists the temptation to go into sell mode.

I should point out that the opposite outcome, where they are bad enough to raise questions about the viability of this rebuild (and send the front office back to the drawing board) is also in play! Lots of possibilities here.”

Since I wrote that, they’ve gone 1-1, but it was against the Dodgers, so it feels like a moral victory. In 2021 Mariners fashion, both games were decided by one run. Next, conveniently, they play the Red Sox. I’ll add some more tomorrow if I get the chance before the game starts.

Finally, I workshopped a few different Seattle music references for the thread title before settling on this one. I don’t think it’s my best work, so I’m open to suggestions.
 
Last edited:

jon abbey

Shanghai Warrior
Dope
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
63,283
Finally, I workshopped a few different Seattle music references for the thread title before settling on this one. I don’t think it’s my best work, so I’m open to suggestions.
Yours seems fine, there should be one that could be made around 'Are You Experienced', but I can't quite figure it out.
 

Bozo Texino

still hates Dave Kerpen
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
9,627
Austin, Texas
2021 Seattle Mariners: Everybody loves us, everybody loves our town.

If that ISN'T the Kraken's goal song, they're completely [over]blowing it.
 

Sad Sam Jones

Member
SoSH Member
May 5, 2017
1,521
Taylor Trammell is now 4-for-13 with a home run in his last 4 games and has cut his strikeout rate down to about 25% over the past week. It was brutal to see a young prospect who was probably rushed to the majors striking out at over 60% through his first 10 games. Still, I wonder how much of a rope he'll have once the minor league season starts. If that rate is still over 40%, I'd have to think facing MLB pitching right now might not be what's best for his development.
 

jon abbey

Shanghai Warrior
Dope
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
63,283
2021 Seattle Mariners: I don’t expect them to keep this up

James Paxton already out for the year seems like a big loss, he is so good when healthy.
 

Yelling At Clouds

Post-darwinian
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
2,643
Taylor Trammell is now 4-for-13 with a home run in his last 4 games and has cut his strikeout rate down to about 25% over the past week. It was brutal to see a young prospect who was probably rushed to the majors striking out at over 60% through his first 10 games. Still, I wonder how much of a rope he'll have once the minor league season starts. If that rate is still over 40%, I'd have to think facing MLB pitching right now might not be what's best for his development.
Seems likely to me that he’ll be the odd man out once Kelenic is up, whenever that is. Kind of a shame, but I’m not sure how he fits on this team in the short- or long-term. They have a glut of outfielders to begin with.

I guess I’ll talk about Kelenic, since this storyline is one of the things people know about this team. The plan is still to give him some more in-game action before bringing him up to MLB, which sort of seems defensible if you can ignore the part about the team’s ex-president announcing they were going to manipulate his service time. It is true that he’s only played a few games at AA, and while he looked great at the Alternate Site and ST, that’s not really the same thing. But it’s also hard not to look at the current team and conclude that he’s not one of the three best outfielders. He’ll probably be up shortly after the AAA season starts, but some have speculated he could be up sooner, which would kind of lay bare the whole charade. Not that it’s particularly well-concealed.

Anyway, yeah, I’d think Trammell (accent on the second syllable, if you were wondering) would head to the minors at that point, I don’t think riding the bench would be great for him.

James Paxton already out for the year seems like a big loss, he is so good when healthy.
Well, yes and no. I suspect The Plan was for him to pitch well enough to bet a decent return at the deadline, and they have other pieces in that regard - Kendall Graveman seems like a candidate for this year’s “they got *that guy* for *that* guy?” deal.
 

Yelling At Clouds

Post-darwinian
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
2,643
Tonight’s starter is Justin Dunn, CT native and former BC Eagle who walked eight (eight!) Chicago White Sox in his first start. His second start went a lot better.
 

LogansDad

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 15, 2006
22,153
Alamogordo
I am excited for this team. I am starting a gig next month as an usher for their AA team, the Arkansas Travelers, and right now Kelenic is listed on that roster, so hopefully I get to see some of him. I will try to keep up with posting from the Farm in here.
 

Yelling At Clouds

Post-darwinian
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
2,643
So we’re getting the Full Mariners Experience this series; they’ve been pretty much outplayed in every facet of the game, but they’ve capitalized on their opponent’s lapses, won one game they probably shouldn’t have, and made the other one improbably close. They have gotten contributions from JP Crawford in both games so far, which could be big for them if he keeps it up.

Yesterday was Kikuchi’s worst start of the season so far, for the record - he was a popular preseason breakout pick, but he’s still in the “intriguing but frustratingly inconsistent” category as of now.

Today’s starter is Chris Flexen, who was terrible for a few years with the Mets. He pitched well in the KBO last year, and now he’s the Mariners’ best starter by FIP
 

Yelling At Clouds

Post-darwinian
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
2,643
No favors from the schedulemakers for the M’s: from Boston they go not to an East-Coast destination or even a close-ish Central city like Detroit or Cleveland but rather to Houston with no off-day. And they get Greinke on Wednesday.

They’ll have to travel cross-country again later this summer to face the Yankees, and even more weirdly, they already played a series in Baltimore.
 

Yelling At Clouds

Post-darwinian
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
2,643
Welp, they salvaged one game in Houston and, amazingly, remain in second place. It was a frustrating and weird series- the only game they had anything resembling a competent offensive performance in was the one against Zack Greinke, and Rafael Montero - the guy they brought in to be their closer - completely blew up, costing them the win.

And in more bad news, Marco Gonzales is now on the IL with an ominous-sounding “forearm strain.” They might want to give Rick Porcello a call.
 

Yelling At Clouds

Post-darwinian
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
2,643
A month in, and the Mariners continue to hover above .500, still in playoff position, however tenuously it may be. The expected regression still has not come.

Their issues are relatively easy to diagnose: they’re playing some games with three players who should be in AAA - Tranmell, Torrens, and White - and they’re using a six-man rotation despite injuries depleting their depth beyond a point where that makes sense.

One presumes Trammell will head down to the minors in the not-too-distant future (whenever they want to bring up Kelenic - they have a good catching prospect also but I don’t think they want to rush him), but the trickier case is Evan White. He signed an MLB extension while still in AA. Had AAA been a thing last year, presumably he’d have spent some time there, but it wasn’t, so he didn’t. He is an MLB-level defender at first, but that’s not a skill that can carry you too far, as ex-Mariner Casey Kotchman will tell you. They don’t really have a replacement 1B, either, but maybe try Ty France (nominally a 3B, but if he was any good there, Kyle Seager would be a Brewer already) (yes, I checked, that’s the team) there?

Pitching, I think all they can do is cross their fingers and toes about Marco for now.
 

Yelling At Clouds

Post-darwinian
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
2,643
Logan Gilbert, their top pitching prospect, is set to be called up as well. I’m a little surprised they’re abandoning their plan not to rush everyone, but I think they maybe see an opportunity? I’m not convinced it’s the right choice, but it’s still exciting.
 

Sad Sam Jones

Member
SoSH Member
May 5, 2017
1,521
Kelenic is batting leadoff, but his first major league at-bat lasts one pitch as Josh Naylor tumbles into the stands to catch his foul ball. Gilbert made quick work of Cleveland in the 1st, but Franmil Reyes blasts one to dead center in the 2nd.
 
Last edited:

Yelling At Clouds

Post-darwinian
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
2,643
Well, Kelenic has not singlehandedly fixed the offense; he’s actually been pretty quiet outside of Friday’s game. Not super-surprising or unexpected, I guess, but, really, this team needs to do something about their hitting woes. They could have easily been no-hit three times in three weeks! At a minimum, I’d expect them to get rid of their hitting coach (who is Tim Laker).

Weirdly, I actually think they should still be Going For It - I don’t see Oakland or Houston as insurmountable and they’ve still got some talent. I think if they added an average-ish 1B and someone to DH while France is out, they could be in business.

(The move I’d like to see would be a reunion with Nelson Cruz, but the Twins might not be ready to admit to themselves that they’re sellers yet.)
 
Last edited:

Yelling At Clouds

Post-darwinian
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
2,643
Kelenic back to AAA. His first go-round in MLB went ... poorly. But on the plus side, Taylor Trammell has hit much better since returning! They’re 9-5 since losing six straight to Detroit and San Diego, and back to hovering around .500. Buy!
 

Sad Sam Jones

Member
SoSH Member
May 5, 2017
1,521
I'm officially not a fan of Ty France. He just got hit by a pitch because he wears one of those large hard plastic pads on his upper arm that extends past his elbow. He very deliberately jabbed the end of the pad nearly into the strike zone, like he was playing catch, and was hit by a pitch that was two inches from being a strike and would never had made contact with his body. I see he's now just one behind the league leader in HBP this season.
 

Yelling At Clouds

Post-darwinian
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
2,643
I'm officially not a fan of Ty France. He just got hit by a pitch because he wears one of those large hard plastic pads on his upper arm that extends past his elbow. He very deliberately jabbed the end of the pad nearly into the strike zone, like he was playing catch, and was hit by a pitch that was two inches from being a strike and would never had made contact with his body. I see he's now just one behind the league leader in HBP this season.
Well Cleveland is up 5-0 on them right now so I don’t think they’re sweating it.
 

Sad Sam Jones

Member
SoSH Member
May 5, 2017
1,521
Mitch Hanniger just fouled one off the inside of his knee. Obviously no word yet on the damage, but it looked like a trip to the IL or day-to-day at the very least.
 

Yelling At Clouds

Post-darwinian
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
2,643
So. How was everyone’s weekend?

As you probably heard, the Mariners swept the Rays, with three of the four wins coming in walkoff fashion. They’re back up to two games over .500.

Overtaking Oakland and Houston might not be realistic, but this may still be a successful season for them. I’m not sure if I said this in an earlier post or not, but my thought was that they were hoping that this would be not the year they actually made the playoffs, but rather the year that convinces them to Go For It next year. Like, in 2019, the White Sox were not very good, but strong performances from Giolito, Moncada, and Jiminez indicated that they were going places, so they went out and made some signings. Now they’re one of the best teams in the AL. I think DiPoto and Co. maybe hoped that between Crawford, Lewis, France, Torrens, Trammell, Kelenic, Kikuchi, Gilbert, and Sheffield (among others), they’d get some performances that would put the rest of the league on notice. And for a while, they were playing well, but not really getting those breakthroughs. Now, they’re starting to - Crawford in particular looks like a rising star, as does Kikuchi (although his contract is interesting - at the end of this season, they’ll have to decide if they want to pick up the next four years of the deal). Gilbert is starting to find his footing. Torrens has been great since returning from AAA. But, this team has also been known to follow up good stretches of baseball with periods of sheer incompetence. So we’ll see.
 

Yelling At Clouds

Post-darwinian
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
2,643
The Yankees series has hurt. For a little bit there, they were only 3.5 games behind Oakland for a WC spot with no teams in between (Toronto has passed them and they’re tied with NY now). I am very curious how they’ll approach trade season - they could use a starter to replace Justus Sheffield in the rotation and another hitter (1B/DH, I’d assume). But various reporters who are plugged in to this sort of thing are still talking about selling, and I’m not sure how much sense that makes - unless they’re getting actual players who can help immediately.

Fun fact: they are 10-1 in extra innings, best in MLB. They should send Rob Manfred a thank-you card.
 

Yelling At Clouds

Post-darwinian
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
2,643
This is still going - they enter the ASB still 3.5 games back of Oakland for the second WC, a game ahead of NY, Toronto, and Cleveland, three teams that are moving in different directions, and two ahead of a dangerous Angels team. I think now we’ve reached the point where platitudes about exceeding expectations and “enjoying the ride” and all of that are going to be cold comfort when this run (perhaps inevitably) falls short - I think fans will be legitimately disappointed if/when that happens. A trade for another starter (Charlie Morton?) and competence from new call-up Cal Raleigh (plus the eventual return of Kelenic) would help, though.

Despite some talk of a college bat who could help out relatively soon, they took HS catcher Harry Ford, whose profile reminds me of Blake Swihart’s a bit. I will leave it at that.
 

Yelling At Clouds

Post-darwinian
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
2,643
Their second-round pick is quite a story:

Pick 12 (48th overall), Mariners: Edwin Arroyo, SS, Arecibo Baseball Academy (P.R.)
Arroyo is one of the most interesting stories in the Draft, attending his senior year of high school at Central Pointe Christian Academy in Florida and working as a two-way player. Drafted as a right-handed-throwing shortstop, Arroyo has also pitched left-handed and hits from both sides of the plate.
 

jon abbey

Shanghai Warrior
Dope
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
63,283
Mariners blow a game in Texas for the second straight day after trading Graveman earlier this week. Castillo last night, Swanson today, no outs between them, 4 runs allowed, and two leads become losses.
 

LogansDad

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 15, 2006
22,153
Alamogordo
The kid they traded for Castillo, Austin Shenton, isn't a big time prospect, but I got to watch him down here (Arkansas) for a week or so and he is a really fun player to root for and a nice kid. Puts up good at bats and was perfectly cromulent in the field at both first and third base. Hope Castillo can be better than his first showing.

Zach Deloach (#7 Mariners prospect) is here right now, and has also been fun, though not as successful with the bat as Shenton has been and looks a little overmatched.

#9 prospect, Brandon Williamson has been getting shelled since coming to AA, and the numbers aren't really as bad as it has looked. Finally had a solid start this week, but they were on the road so I didn't get to see it, but he's been letting up hard contact all over the park.

Julio is raw, but man is he going to be an absolute star. Really, really fast and when he hits the ball it sounds different than when other guys at this level hit it. He's made some bad reads in the OF, but his speed has allowed him to recover for the most part, but I think defense is the most likely thing to keep him in the minors this season. Only got to watch him for a week, but he is an absolute blast to watch, and one of the more fun people I've had the pleasure of interacting with.
 

Yelling At Clouds

Post-darwinian
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
2,643
Just going to note for the record that Jarred Kelenic, who up to this point has mostly served as an avatar for the current chasm between AAA and MLB, has a .250/.351/.521 line in August with 3 HRs and 8 BBs against 9 Ks. True it's a small sample, but he's never had even a two-week stretch this good in the Majors.
 

Yelling At Clouds

Post-darwinian
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
2,643
Offseason news! Mariners decline their option on Kyle Seager, making him a free agent. This was expected. One presumes the Mariners will be in the market for an infielder this offseason - whatever "offseason" there is!

Yusei Kikuchi declines his player option, becoming a free agent and passing up $13 million from Seattle. This was less expected, as he was kind of bad after MLB's sticky-stuff crackdown - despite making the All-Star team before that - so one would think he'd take the guaranteed money. But he's looking for a fresh start, I guess?