Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Something is Definitely Going on in Seattle

I haven't been reporting on a ton of these, at least not since the Jean Segura trade, but there has been an insane amount of wheeling and dealing in Seattle. They've basically decide to rebuild every aspect of their team, in the wildest possible ways.

In the past month or so, the Mariners have gotten rid of Taijuan Walker, Nate Karns, Chris Iannetta, Seth Smith, Ketel Marte, Nori Aoki, Adam Lind and Dae-Ho Lee, as well as adding Jean Segura, Yovani Gallardo, Drew Smyly, Danny Valencia, Jarrod Dyson and Chris Heston. That is essentially a roster turnaround, only without the actual heart of the roster.

Normally, struggling rosters do the opposite- they don't have a ton of big roster pieces, so they trade and sign some, to fit around smaller players that are already there- the Padres and Diamondbacks have done this, and it hasn't worked. But the Mariners are doing the opposite- they're keeping their core of Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager, Nelson Cruz, Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma around- these five are the absolute biggest stars on the team, and the best players. They took out all the smaller, less important contracts, and switched them with equally efficient, newer parts.

Throwing Jean Segura and Danny Valencia into the roster is insanely smart, as both have had some amazing seasons lately, and both can be entered into a larger roster to work less independently and more along the lines of a unit- in Oakland, Valencia was one of the few offensive producers, and now he and Segura have a lineup that fits them well. This also gives a few players in overstuffed situations, like Jarrod Dyson and Chris Heston, some more roomy situations to fit into. Dyson was a reserve outfielder that never got a chance to start, and now, as I'm thinking Franklin Gutierrez will finally sign somewhere else, he'll get that chance.

The rotation could be slightly problematic. People seem to think that Drew Smyly is ten times better than he actually is. He'll be a solid third or fourth starter. Yovani Gallardo is probably going to bounce back after a down 2016, and probably knock James Paxton out of the rotation, as I saw the latter man start last year, and it was not pretty.

Again, like with the D-Backs and Padres, I have no idea whether or not this will actually work. I'd like it to- it's been fifteen years since the Mariners made the playoffs, and it's about time, really. Whether or not these new pieces can work is going to determine the shape of the AL West, as the Rangers may be stepping back, and the Astros and Angels may be stepping forward.

Interesting to see how it rolls out, but I'm pulling for them.

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