Mariners Analysis

Monday, March 17, 2008

Suddenly favorites?

With the recent injuries to the Angels pitching staff, some are suddenly arguing the Mariners are the team to beat. Larry Stone offers his take today- link

As a Mariner fan, of course I'm excited at the possibility of winning the division. While I hate to see rival teams have injuries to key players, it is part of the game. When Edgar Martinez pulled a hamstring during a meaningless game in the spring and was basically never the same hitter all year, it was almost a lost season as a fan. Every game was a woulda, coulda, shoulda. So we all know it evens out over time.

But does it really make us the favorites?

Many fans point to Colorado last year and ask if anyone saw them making the World Series. But that's a specious argument at best. The Rockies play in the National League, the same league that sent the 83 win Cardinals to the WS. Just try and name one dominant team the last few years in the NL. The Mets were the only team that really looked talented on paper. The rest of the league was a complete mess. SOMEONE had to come out of the group, and we would have been no more surprised if the Giants, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Phillies etc... had made it. When a league is stuck in mediocrity, don't make too much out of the "champions" it produces. The Mariners and Rockies situations are completely different for many, many reasons.

So it's true someone has to win the AL West, and the Mariners are lucky to only have three other teams to beat to make the post season.

But that doesn't make this team good. The Mariners still have Richie Sexson at first. Still have a DH who hit 6 home runs last year. Still have a bench that will include Cairo and Bloomie. Still have a bullpen in disarray (sorry, but when Arthur Rhodes is competing for a spot after coming off a serious injury, you have problems). And have a rookie manager learning on the job.

Now if by midseason these issues have been mitigated or resolved, and the team is actually playing really well, then playoff talk is justified.

But injuries to your rival doesn't make your team "better."

And the Mariners still have to go through the Tigers, Indians, Red Sox etc... to get to the World Series.

Let's see the team play a few real games before we make them the "favorites"- ok?