RECORDS: Mariners 7-1, White Sox 2-3
DATES AND TIMES: Friday 1:10, Saturday 1:10, Sunday 1:10
TV: NBCSN Chicago Friday, WGN Saturday and Sunday
WHY IS IT ALWAYS RAINING?: Lookout Landing
Probable Mariners Lineup
1. Mallex Smith (L) CF
2. Mitch Haniger (R) RF
3. Domingo Santana (R) LF
4. Jay Bruce (L) 1B
5. Omar Narvaez (L) C
6. Tim Beckham (R) SS
7. Ryon Healy (R) 3B
8. Daniel Vogelbach (L) DH
9. Dee Gordon (L) 2B
Probable White Sox Lineup
For the past severeal years, it had started to seem like in the modern age of baseball, there are only two types of teams: teams that were trying to win, and teams that were trying to lose. The Moneyball era went to such an extreme so quickly that the way teams approached roster construction basically meant either you were going for it or you were intentionally tanking. The White Sox were, for a few years, in the former, constantly trying to win but always failing miserably, until they just decided to embrace what they were and start losing on purpose, but with purpose.
Over the offseason, the Mariners started to look like they were falling into the latter category, as they traded a few of their key players from 2018 away for younger, more controllable players or prospects. They started tearing down what looked like a damn-near elite bullpen by sending Alex Colome to – hey, us!, for Omar Narvaez, who was the Hawks best-hitting catcher from last year but a total butcher behind the plate. Then they traded Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to the Mets for top prospect Jared Kelenic.
However, what started to look like a rebuild quickly became more of a re-tool, as they traded Ben Gamel to Milwauke for Domingo Santana, because if there are two things the Brewers definitely needed, it’s left handed hitters and outfielders. That was less a move for the future and more a move to address something they needed now. Then they went out and signed Yusei Kikuchi, who was the best pitcher left in Japan after Shohei Ohtani came stateside, to a really creative contract that will keep him in Seattle for either three, four, or seven years, with both sides having options. Given that Kikuchi is 27, this was another move to build for now.
So in reality, what the Mariners did was build a team that could compete this year, but just for significantly less money. Clearing out the Cano contract may have cost them 2018’s best reliever in baseball, but so far the results have been fine. They took Oakland to task in the opening series in Japan back on March 20-21, and then smacked the shit out of the ball against what’s supposed to be a dominant Red Sox rotation before taking a two-game sweep against the Angels. They weren’t exactly designed to win in the same way as Boston or Houston, but they weren’t designed to lose either.
The thing that is so frustrating about watching how the Mariners went about this rebuild/re-tool movement this offseason was that the White Sox absolutely had the ability to do the same shit. Sure they missed on Machado, but had they been willing to open the checkbook up a bit and made moves like adding Santana and Kikuchi, or even some smaller moves like the Phillies made pre-Bryce Harper, they could’ve won this terrible AL Central. Seriously, looking at that Seattle roster, there’s almost no way they couldn’t win 95 games against this division. Instead, the Sox decided that they wanted to be even cheaper than Seattle and still not be good. Hooray!
For this weekend, at least, we just need to pray their bats cool off a bit and their pitching doesn’t stop what Yoan Moncada is doing. Simple!