I don't know whether if it's funny or sad that Adam Frazier had a 3.1 WAR in the first half of the 2021 season, and hasn't been able to match that mark in any other season with any other team.
It sums up the Mariners' approach, even if it is working. Frazier, Robbie Ray and Jesse Winker were all brought to this team because solely of how well they did in 2021. Frazier was a contact machine in Pittsburgh, Ray won a Cy Young in Toronto and Winker was an All-Star in Cincinnati. Of the three, Robbie Ray is having the best season, mostly because he's Robbie Ray, but even then, going 11-8 with a 3.58 ERA is a step down from his 2021. But Winker's hitting around .220 and only has 90 hits, while Frazier is hitting .244 with 110 hits. These are disappointing numbers for players that, thankfully, are only around for another year or so.
Thankfully, the players being locked up are the foundational ones that could pave the way for a competitive stretch for the Mariners. Obviously Julio Rodriguez will be there for the foreseeable future, and J.P. Crawford, Eugenio Suarez, Marco Gonzalez and for some strange reason Evan White [who has yet to even show up this season] are all there for a little while. And at the same time there's people like Chris Flexen and Luis Castillo who probably want to stick around. And all the kids who are under team control for a bit.
But the fact is that with all the Mariners have right now, including a healthy Mitch Haniger, an excellent defensive catcher at last with Cal Raleigh, a strong rotation with George Kirby now coming into his own, several depth options, a packed heart of the lineup and Julio now one of the biggest stars in the league...guys...they've got a great position on the wild card standings. I know we're a month out and September's always tough, but this team's looking really good.
So let's take it one step further. Say the Mariners do break their 21-year playoff drought and make it in as a wild card. Then what? They'll have done the thing that 20 previous Ms teams couldn't do, and they'll be facing somebody like Toronto or Tampa for a further playoff spot, and having to prove themselves. Will they be able to keep the momentum going? Could this team be the one that actually runs up the board in October? I see a ton of promise with this team, just in terms of how varied its pitching is alone, and I think they can outhit a lot of competitors, especially their wild card competitors.
It's just a matter of if they can keep this momentum going the whole time and surprise people. And that will be tricky, especially as these are the Mariners we're talking about. But I'm optimistic. If I'm seriously thinking this could be their year, you never know where they're gonna go next.
Coming Tomorrow- An impressive defender for another wild card team.