Mariners preview

After 19 years of Octoberless baseball, the Mariners look to break the drought


Austin Carter

Baseball Returns. With the shortened Covid season behind them, the youthful Mariners look to arrive in the postseason.

As we head out of the winter freeze and head into spring, a youthful and energetic team in Seattle looks to shock the world and break the longest current playoff drought in North American sports. Last year was uncharacteristic, to say the least, as the season was only a sixty-game sprint amid the Covid-19 pandemic. With the unprecedented year, the Mariners still ended up 27-33 and only two games back of Houston for a playoff spot. Now with a full 162 game season, the Mariners look to build off an encouraging season.

The offseason was unusually quiet by the standards of GM Jerry Dipoto, but he still bolstered the bullpen which was a giant weak spot last year. The additions of Keynan Middleton, Rafael Montero, and Drew Steckenrider should hopefully add some stability in what was a wild roller coaster in the bullpen last year. The starting rotation also got an upgrade by adding Chris Flexin who played with the New York Mets before heading overseas to the Korean baseball league. James Paxton also returns to the Pacific Northwest, but in his first start, it was announced that he needed Tommy John’s surgery and will miss the remainder of the season.

Returning to the Mariners is a whole plethora of youth including the reigning Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis. Kyle will miss the first couple of weeks with injury but rookie Taylor Trammell will try and take his place. Gold Glove winner Evan White is also back at first base. The glove has come easy, but the bat has lagged behind; if he could improve offensively that would add another line of protection behind Mitch Haniger and Ty France.

While the Mariners aren’t favorites to win the AL West, but with their improved pitching and timely hitting, they could give the rest of the division a run for its money. In the division Texas is in a full-blown rebuild, Oakland has lost some key pieces and it remains to be seen if they can replace them, Los Angeles continues to struggle with pitching and Houston, while still the favorite, lost George Springer and might not have enough pitching to carry them far into the postseason. Every team in the division has a weakness, and while the Mariners winning would be a monumental surprise, don’t be shocked if in September they are right in the middle of a pennant race.