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SPORTS WITH ART THIEL
Mariners aren't living up to already low expectations
The Seattle Mariners reach the halfway point of their season this weekend, and find themselves in last place. As KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel explains, the Mariners had low expectations at the beginning of the season, and have yet to live up to them.
Last Place a Surprise
Art says that while no one expected the Mariners to win a World Series this year, he certainly didn't expect them to play this poorly. The Mariners have had their moments this season, but after recent series losses to teams like Oakland and San Diego (who have team payrolls of nearly $30 million dollars less than Seattle), the team sits with one of the worst records in baseball.
It's been very difficult because they've show flashes. They scored 21 runs against Texas, they had a six-pitcher no-hitter. They've done these incredible things, but it is all in spasm, without any consistency.
Roster is Biggest Fundamental Problem
Art explains that the Mariners roster issues play largely into the lack of success. Players like Ichiro, Chone Figgins, Brendan Ryan and Miguel Olivo are seasoned veterans soaking up a large part of the teams payroll, while not performing to the level that players with their salaries are expected to. On the other end of the spectrum, the team has a bunch of young players with little experience.
What this roster lacks is a hitter in his prime. Somebody who can hit .290 and get 25 home runs Somebody who the inexperienced guys can lean and rely on in times of pressure.
Art says that for the time being, Mariners fans are just going to have to deal with the roster the team currently has. He suggests that for most of the veterans on the team, there is no real trade market. For players the Mariners might be able to trade (like Felix Hernandez), the cons would likely outweigh the pros. Unloading players like Brendan Ryan and Chone Figgins would likely result in the Mariners still having to assume the majority of their salary while not getting a significant player in return.