Mariners Analysis

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Bavasi's last season

With the season about to get underway, it's customary to make predictions on how the season will go. It seems most fans and columnists peg the M's in the 81-84 win category. There are certainly those that see doom and gloom, and think a mid-70's total is likely, but in general fans tend to be optimistic at the start of the season and assume best case scenarios.

With last years WS champs getting to the playoffs with such an uninspired win total, there is a group of fans who argue the M's have a realistic chance at a playoff appearance this year. They look at the West and argue there is little to like among the teams, and feel every team took a step back this year.

But of course who saw Detroit going to the WS last year either? What history shows us is 83 wins almost never gets you in the playoffs. In fact, we know the M's won 93 games two years in a row and didn't make the playoffs, so the idea the M's will even be in contention is hard to believe.

The cream of the crop in the AL this year would have to be Boston and NY. While it is tiresome to say that every year, and acknowledging the Yankees are starting Pavano(!) on opening day, can we really make an argument for the Mariners beating one of those two teams for a wildcard spot? Not to mention the Twins, Tigers, Blue Jays etc... who look far stronger on paper.

So if history says it takes 95+ wins to take the AL West, and if the M's would have to beat out a large field of quality opponents to win the wildcard, it would seem there is little chance this team will make the playoffs.

And if there is little chance we make the playoffs, what would possibly warrant bringing Bavasi back at the end of the year?

While I hate to say it, the end of the year will see Bavasi, Hargrove and Ichiro all leaving the M's. For some it may not even take that long.

This team is marginally better (and significantly more expensive) than last year. I think 82 wins is achievable. I hope I'm wrong and the M's are better than they look on paper, but history says someone will win 90+ games in the West and I just don't see it with this group.