Astros: Gauging the AL West as the offseason simmers
By Cody Poage
Despite winning 89 games, the Mariners found themselves well out of the postseason race by September. A classic good, but not good enough team in 2018, which further fuels the fresh rebuild. The longest postseason drought in baseball continues.
Trading Paxton to the Yankees for a package headlined by Justus Sheffield feels a bit light, but remains better than hanging on to the former. Mike Zunino is also long gone to Tampa. Edwin Diaz, Mike Leake, and Mitch Haniger are a few names to watch this offseason, although I doubt all are traded this offseason. If general manager Jerry Dipoto can somehow convince the Mets to trade for Robinson Cano, who is still a useful player, then Seattle could shed some unwanted salary. Not a lot, mind you, as New York probably doesn’t want to assume the rest of his contract. But every little bit helps, right? Plus, it is the Mets we’re talking about.
Areas to address: Well, everywhere
Unless he is traded this winter, there is a distinct possibility that the Mariners may choose Leake as their Opening Day starter. Yikes. For a team looking to rebuild, expect for the roster to feature a few low-risk players, who could transform into desirable trade chips by July. Returning players in Jean Segura, Dee Gordon, Kyle Seager, and Leake are all trade candidates either this winter or into next season. Adding another catcher is priority, but they probably won’t land one of the more premier names. Signing a cheaper starter or two is one route to go in the near future. The prospects they receive at the start of the rebuild will help determine if the postseason extends well into another decade.
It became painfully obvious to the Mariners that they weren’t going to realistically compete with the Astros and A’s in the AL West next season. Sure, a repeat performance from the core of the 2018 squad was possible, but regression is likely next year.