Change. The word has nearly become synonymous with the Seattle Mariners this season. During this offseason, not only was the name of the Mariners’ home field changed from Safeco Field to T-Mobile Park this past month, but the roster went through a full teardown as well. Mariners General Manager Jerry Dipoto made a total of 9 trades this offseason — giving this 2019 roster a completely new look.
The Mariners were in a very tough spot coming out of 2018. They finished with a close record of 89–73 — 8 games behind Oakland for the 2nd wild card in the American League. Normally, 89 games should be enough for a postseason berth, but teams flew past them in the standings during the 2nd half of the year. The Mariners had an aging roster of veteran players mixed with very few younger ones to build around. The Mariners front office decided they had to make drastic changes and rebuild a minor league farm system that had been lacking talent over the last few years.
In the MLB, this is called a rebuilding phase — but Dipoto wants this to be a faster rebuild than those prior. He believes he has created the perfect combination of younger veterans and minor league prospects that the Mariners should become a winning team very soon.
“We went and built a layer at the major-league level of guys in their mid-20s, and then we added prospects,” Dipoto said. “If we’re right — and I guess we’re going to find out sometime soon — but if we’re right, potentially cut the time in half that we would have to develop this roster.”
Some familiar faces you will not be seeing in a Mariner uniform this year are Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, Edwin Diaz, and James Paxton. All were very good players, but were traded away for younger talent, which help the future of this team.
A name for fans everywhere to become familiar with is Jarred Kelenic. Kelenic was drafted sixth overall in the 2018 MLB draft and was acquired in a trade with the New York Mets that sent Cano and Diaz away. At only 19-years-old and is still a few years away from cracking the major league roster, Kelenic is seen as a 5 tool talent with loads of potential.
Other new names to be on the lookout for are Justus Sheffield, Justin Dunn, J.P. Crawford and Shed Long. All four will most likely start the season in the minor league, but a couple of them have already seen time in the majors and will likely be on the Seattle roster fairly soon. These were the exact kind of players Dipoto was looking for.
“It’s not like we were throwing Hail Marys,” Dipoto said. “These guys have actually performed in the big leagues. They’re just younger and cheaper than their predecessors, and we were able to turn some of that leverage into an improved farm system with adding guys like Kelenic and Justin Dunn and Shed Long.”
Although the team is expected to take a step back from where they were in 2018 — I do not think it is as big as people are saying. The addition of young players and proven veterans brings a future that is looking bright — something that Mariner fans have not had in awhile. I expect the Mariners to be in contention for the 2nd wild card spot all year and hopefully end the longest postseason drought in American sports. The season kicks off in Seattle on March 28, where the Mariners take on the defending World Series champions, the Boston Red Sox.
If you are planning on attending games this season at T-Mobile Park, the Mariners have brought back their college night ticket special for five of their games. Students can enjoy happy hour specials before the ballgame and a ticket for only $14.
|3/28||Vs. Boston – Opening Day|
|4/12||Vs. Houston – College Night|
|4/26||Vs. Texas – College Night|