As we roll into the All Star break, the Mariners are holding onto their firm grasp of last place and are approaching the worst record in baseball. As I continue to watch these games, and get more frustrated, I can’t help but feel more and more sorry for our only All Star.
King Felix Hernandez again and again has provided dominate performances on the mound to no avail. Last night the King left the game after pitching 7.2 innings giving up just 1 run on 6 hits. No win. It would be one thing if this was a rare incident. I think every pitcher around the league has those games where the run support isn’t there, but this is nightly occurrence not only for Felix, but for the rest of the staff. The bats are just not there.
Just how bad is the hitting? Terrible. Our best hitter (statistically) is John Jaso with a .267 average. Let me say that again… Our BEST hitter right now is batting .267. Our veterans who Eric Wedge keeps telling us need to step up are unbearable. Miguel Olivo who should be better at the plate because he sure can’t field a pass ball is batting a whopping .201. Brendan Ryan is sitting at .187. That brings us to the future Mariner Hall of Famer, Ichiro. He is a career .323 hitter batting .261.
This team has a lot of potential to perform and we have seen spurts of greatness this season, but at what point do you make some significant changes. At this point they need to face the facts and realize that this season is already over. It is time to see some changes if you really want to move forward with young talent for the future. Those changes are coming, but who and when is the question. You can make strong arguments for several moves. Do you move Dustin Ackley down? Jesús Montero? Move Justin Smoak or move on with him altogether?
There is also the possibility of unloading until the trade deadline. Unfortunately for the M’s, the value in some of their trade options have dropped. Normally stout closer, Brandon League, has tanked this year and lost his closer role. He has a 3.35 ERA and 6 blown saves. There is still some value for him, I think, but at this point it can’t be much. Jason Vargas’ name is also out there, but nobody was interested in him last year and really we don’t have the depth in the rotation as we did last year. Once we start bringing up some of the young guys, then he is a little more expendable.
One guy who I can see going is Tom Wilhelmsen. He has had a nice season and has a big time fastball. He is boasting 52 SO in 44.1 innings pitched. I can see a team in need of a closer or set up man making a nice push for him. With the state of the M’s, I can see him moving on if a decent offer comes to the table.
Hopefully we see some moves and see some light at the end of the tunnel. The fans need it, the team needs it, and for some front office jobs folks, they definitely need it.