A continuation of the series of retrospectives looking back at the regular season and how teams fared. They will be presented, from first to last, in order of their run differential as given by the BaseRuns formula and adjusted for strength of schedule, which I feel is the best measurement of a team’s actual talent level.
Number Twenty Eight: Seattle Mariners
A victim, yes victim, of good luck in 2007 and the misfortune to not have enough foresight in the front office to properly weight their own assets. It’s not they there were far off base in thinking that they had a chance at the AL West title in 2008. While they did over perform in 2007, so did the Angels and a revised division standings had all four teams within just a few games of each other.
Seattle’s collapse in 2008 was the product of a multitude of failures. The trade for Erik Bedard improperly judged their own prospects and over valued Bedard’s 2007, glossing over the valid injury concerns. The signing of Carlos Silva showed continued ignorance of how to evaluate past pitching and a complete misjudgment of the free agent market.
The Mariners failed to plan for Richie Sexson not bouncing back, resulting in having Bryan LaHair and Miguel Cairo splitting time after Sexson was released. They inexplicably gave Kenji Johjima a three-year extension, tying up their catching position. They failed to notice that Yuniesky Betancourt‘s defense was slipping or that Raul Ibanez‘s defense had already collapsed.
Yes, they faced some bad luck. The number and extent of the injuries they encountered were unfortunate and would have hurt any team. They also dealt with unlucky hitters in the form of line drives not going for hits as often as would be expected. Those unlucky breaks would have turned any good team into an average one, but combined with a lack of planning reminiscent of FEMA-circa Katrina, it created a crater so large as to finally swallow the front office.
Going forward, the new front office will benefit from a bar set so low that they would exceed expectations simply by not doing anything and thus not actively damaging themselves. It’s likely to be a few years before serious contention can come again, but with some real talent in the organization and loads of financial resources finally paired with competence in management, that day may come sooner than most think.
Print This Post