As Mariners fans are thinking back on the 2022 season, they have no reason to be disappointed. Yes, the season had an unfortunate ending, but the team made some strides in the right direction. In his letter to the Mariners Faithful, Mitch Haniger wrote “We’re going to end this f*cking drought.” There were some bumps along the way, but that is exactly what the Mariners did. They ended the longest drought in all four major sports. Along the way, they picked up some players that can help them get to the next level. I can guarantee that in no way of shape or form are the Mariners happy with the end result of the season. We will hear that from them over the next couple of weeks. The Mariners proved that they can hang with the top teams in baseball, such as the Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves. Here at the end, the Mariners got really banged up but they fought til the end and left it all out on the field.
Before the Mariners, started the regular season they made the trade for Eugenio Suarez, and Jesse Winker. Some fans were calling for the latter to be removed from the lineup. However, Servais stuck with him until Winker was forced to go to the IL. He is a proven veteran, who until this year has never hit below .255 in his career. He had some big hits throughout the year and will be back healthy and hungry next season.
Early in the season, many had counted the Mariners dead, and out of the playoff picture. That was before we all watched, the Mariners win NINE!, TEN!!, 11!!!… 12!!!!… 13!!!… 14 games in a row. Just as they were going to tie the streak set by the 2001 Seattle Mariners and 2000 Atlanta Braves, the streak was snapped by the Astros. With the last regular season game against the Astros coming before the trade deadline, they didn’t face newly-acquired Luis Castillo, until the playoffs.
The Mariners may have had a lot of fun this season, with Ichiro being inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame, the naming of the ‘Los Bomberos’, and the electricity that the fans brought throughout the season. In front of a sell-out crowd at T-Mobile Park, the Mariners clinched their trip to the post-season on a Friday night when an injured Cal Raleigh hit the walk-off home run, on a 3-2 count with 2 outs. One of the greatest fan interactions that occurred was a fan reaching out via social media to deliver Jesse Winker a pizza after he was ejected from the ballgame.
When it came down to the nitty gritty end of the season, the Mariners suffered some unfortunate injuries. Utility man and late-season starting Left Fielder, Sam Haggerty (Groin) went down for the rest of the season, and the post-season. Winker (disc issue in the neck) also went down with a season-ending injury which left the Mariners with a total of three guys that had played left field this season. Those three players were Jarred Kelenic, Adam Frazier, and Dylan Moore.
In the wildcard, we saw the Mariners do what they’ve done most of the season. Come from behind and win ball games. In Game 2 against the Blue Jays, the Mariners came back from an 8-1 deficit and wound up winning 10-9 to punch their ticket into the Divisional Round. In Game one of the ALDS, the Mariners manager, and potential American League Coach of the Year candidate Scott Servais set his bullpen up the way he has been all year, with flamethrower Andres Munoz coming in the eighth inning and veteran Paul Sewald coming into close it in the ninth. However, the Mariners’ bullpen, which has been a workhorse, all year faltered against a team with a lot of experience. Munoz gave up the two runs in the eighth, and the walk-off homerun by Yordan Alvarez in the ninth. In game 2, it again was a big blast by Alvarez allowing the Astros to jump ahead 2-0 in the series.
The ‘Electric Factory’ was absolutely rocking in Game 3 of the American League Division Series. It was a little emotional at first with King Felix Hernandez throwing out the first pitch.
But, the energy was felt by the team in a game that didn’t see its first run until the 18th inning. A game that tied the longest playoff baseball contest in history.
So what did we learn?
Do the Mariners have some holes they need to fill? Yes. Are the Mariners on the doorstep of taking over in the American League West? Absolutely. This team can and will hang with the best of the best for many years to come.
As the Mariners gear up for a postseason following a playoff berth, they do have some holes to fill as they move into next season. There are a few questions lingering on the team: Will they resign Mitch Haniger? What holes will the Mariners fill? Where can they improve? A lot of these questions will be answered over the next few weeks, and some as soon as free agency starts. I am more than positive, the front office has its eyes on a few different names already.
Many fans think that the Mariners are a solid second baseman, a solid left-handed relief pitcher, and a dominant closer away from competing for a World Series. All of these will be available this offseason: Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts, and Carlos Correa all play SS, so you could either move one of the three or JP Crawford over to second. Aroldis Chapman would be great out of the pen for the Mariners, he’d fit the mantra that is the ‘Los Bomberos’, and he would give the ‘pen the same speed that they currently have in Munoz, just from the left side. A change of scenery may be what he needs. However, former Mariner closer Edwin Diaz is also a free agent. He would fit right into what the Mariners are trying to build in Seattle. If the Mariners could somehow grab these last two, and pair them with the bullpen now. It would be lights out, and you’d have multiple options.
So while the Mariners still have a few additions to make before they are World Series contenders. There is nothing that the Fans should be ashamed of. This team delivered on their promise of breaking the drought, but they’re also just getting started. This team has not reached its full potential yet, and in order to do so, Justin Hollander and the front office have their work cut out for them this offseason.
The 2022 Seattle Mariners played their hearts out for the city of Seattle. It showed, and for that reason, the fans have no reason to be disappointed.
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