Mariners Finish Season Plus-8

The Seattle Mariners closed out their season with a lopsided 12-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday afternoon, finishing the year with a record of 75-87.

This represents an eight-win increase over last year’s total.

Fans who have followed the team closely these last two years know that they were better this year. However, many of us want to see a bigger increase than eight games. Another +8 next year would put the team at 83-79 – a record which some seasons can sneak a team into the wild card, but it is unlikely. A nice +12 to +15 would probably put the team in the playoff picture next season.

That’s not impossible. We just saw two of the biggest single-season improvements you can imagine: the Baltimore Orioles went from 69 wins in 2011 to 93 wins this year for 24-win increase, and the Oakland A’s improved from 74 wins last year to 94 for a +20. Both of these success stories were completely unexpected by baseball analysts – or even fans of the teams, for that matter!

The off-season begins today, and obviously the top priority for the Mariners is to acquire at least one and possible two offensive threats to add to the lineup. Jack Z confirmed this on the Mariners post-game show last night.

The good news is they have positional flexibility. Many of the Mariners better hitters are able to play several different positions (Seager 3B-2B, Ackley 2B-1B-OF, Montero C-DH-1B, Saunders LF-CF-RF, etc), so Jack Z can focus on adding the bat(s) to the lineup without being too concerned about how the new player’s defensive position fits in.

It’s going to be an interesting off-season. I can’t wait to see what the Mariners do! But first, let’s sit back and enjoy the MLB playoffs – the one-game wild card playoffs are tomorrow.

Links:

  • Don Ruiz’s Mariners story for The News Tribune has several quotes from manager Eric Wedge regarding future plans.
  • John McGrath has a look at the Mariners season from a big-picture perspective.
  • Over at The Seattle Times, Geoff Baker has a nice season wrap-up with lots of quotes and facts.
  • Times columnist Jerry Brewer writes that Wedge used the word “playoffs” when talking about 2013. Playoffs?
  • Not wanting Mariners fans to feel too good after a 12-0 win and an eight-game improvement, Larry Stone reminds us that the Mariners haven’t had a decent designated hitter since Edgar retired.
  • At USS Mariner, David Cameron writes that it is time for the Mariners payroll to go up.
  • The Mariners have two players ranked toward the bottom of Baseball America’s Top-20 California League Prospects list.
  • At Prospect Insider, Jason Churchill handed out his Mariners “Prospect Of The Year” awards.
  • Clint Hulsey at a blog called Seattle Sports Central wrote an interesting piece on the five players who split the 2012 season between Tacoma and Seattle who are out of options next year.
  • Detroit slugger Miguel Cabrera won the first triple crown since 1967 – before I was born. Here is the AP news story. For the record, I support Cabrera over Trout in Decision 2012.
  • Former Rainiers slugger Bryan LaHair finished off his season with the Cubs in walk-off fashion.
  • Reno is hosting the annual Minor League Baseball Promotional Seminar, and the local paper ran a story on it. The Rainiers have a couple of front office folks there.

One-game playoffs tomorrow!

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