It’s quite obvious the Seattle Mariners need a lot of help if they are to have a chance to participate in the soiree in October. The general consensus seems to be, however, that the club needs a complete overhaul. This is absolutely, unequivocally incorrect.

Quick, name the best player on the World Series Champion Kansas City Royals. If this were a poll, there’s no question multiple answers would come of it, perhaps sprinkling as many as seven names across the survey.

Quick, name the 10 best players and 10 best starting pitcher in baseball. Are any of them on the Royals’ roster? How far down the list do we have to go to get to the Royals best player and best starting pitcher? Beyond the Top 10, perhaps down closer to 20 in both categories. The point is, the Royals are a good team, not because they are littered with stars but because they are littered with average players, only a few spots grade below average, and topped off with a small handful of above average ones.

The Mariners already boast a core four that are every bit as good — probably better player-for-player and as a group than many — than any four players any other 2015 playoff team can boast. Felix Hernandez, Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager match up closely or even beyond any four of the Royals, New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates, Toronto Blue Jays, Texas Rangers or Houston Astros. It’s the rest of the roster that’s a problem. Why is this important? Cost.

It’s always more costly, in terms of trade assets and payroll, to get the core player than it is to gather the more common average regular player. One can argue that the Mariners indeed have a long ways to go, but it’s more of the ‘need-to-fix-the-bridge’ type than the ‘they-don’t-even-have-the-transportation’ type. The Mariners aren’t that far from legitimate contention. The 2015 roster was good enough to get to October. It didn’t work out, for many reasons. The largest factor, however, was health and henceforth depth.

The offseason is upon the Mariners. They have a new general manager in Jerry Dipoto, a new field skipper in Scott Servais and a payroll that allows for some spending, though it’s unclear how far they
d actually go, so expecting a big-ticket player to be signed to a large contract seems unrealistic. In addition, despite a lack of a strong farm system there are numerous trade assets at the disposal of Dipoto and his staff.

To get you ready for what is sure to be an extremely busy four months, I’ve put together the following features:

Seattle Mariners Payroll Update

Free Agents for the Mariners

Potential Mariners Trade Targets | Nov. 8

Trade Analysis: M’s, Rays swap six

Jason A. Churchill

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