How Mariners’ rebuild impacts the Astros in 2019

While the Astros clinched another AL West title in 2018, it wasn’t done in the same convincing fashion as 2017.

Back when the regular season ended on October 1st, the Astros finished with 103 wins, which was a new franchise record. Good for them. The A’s were the next best club in the AL West with 97 wins followed by the Mariners winning 89 games. Good for them, too. Seeing multiple teams within one division play quality baseball all season long is good for the sport.

By the win-loss record, the AL West was a much more competitive division than the season before. Seattle was a key contributor to the Astros fighting to stay atop of the division throughout the summer. Fast forward to December, and, well, the Mariners look at lot different. Like a friend you haven’t seen in fifteen years different. Here is a list of notable Mariners who’ll suit up in a different uniform next year.

Odds are we’ll see even more trades from Seattle as general manager Jerry Dipoto looks to further this rebuild in the Pacific Northwest. However, there is a certain amount of risk in dramatic rebuilds as teams bank on prospects to become viable major league players. The Astros and Cubs recently did it, and both were rewarded for World Series titles. There is a similar hope for the Mariners.

Thanks to the Dipoto’s actions, the AL West has one less competitor in 2019. Right now, the division goes through either Houston or Oakland. Contingent on how the offseason unfolds, the Astros are the likely favorites to win the AL West next year. Even the A’s have a shot at the division title in future years as both clubs have notable young talent throughout their respective farm systems. The Mariners, in this respect, are trying to improve what was one of the worst farm systems at the start of the offseason. They’ve already done so to an extent via their two trades with two baseball clubs in New York. On a side note: the Astros and Yankees look prime for another postseason run. If the two clubs meet, Paxton likely pitches against Houston. An indirect effect of Seattle’s rebuild.

As it currently stands, the AL West is a bit more top heavy than it was in October. The Mariners weren’t expected to repeat their overperformance in 2019, but crazier things had happened. Look at what the Orioles did for a couple of years in the AL East. That said, the Angels are also lurking on the edges. If they acquire some pitchers, look out. The Rangers are still rebuilding, but I look for their farm system to start bearing fruit sooner than Seattle. All of a sudden, the games between the Astros and A’s have increased in importance.