The Seattle Mariners have officially started off their 2018 season. However, controversy surrounds the Mariners as they are currently in a 16-year playoff drought.
The Mariners’ playoff drought is the longest time a United States professional sports team has not had a playoff berth. Following close behind the Mariners is NFL team Cleveland Browns, at 15 years. The last time the Mariners entered the post-season was in 2001, which was Ichiro Suzuki’s Major League Baseball rookie season. Suzuki holds the Mariners all-time career hit record at 2,533 hits. After years parting ways with the Mariners for six years, the 10-time All-Star has agreed to a one-year contract with Seattle.
The Mariners experienced several injuries which were major factors in their struggling 2017 season. Mariners star pitcher and vital defense component, Felix Hernandez, suffered bursitis in his right shoulder during a game in late April that would result in him missing the remainder of the 2017 season.
The Mariners injury curse continued as Nelson Cruz, Hisashi Iwakuma, Kyle Seager, Mitch Haniger, Robinson Cano, James Paxton and Shawn O’Malley also were added to the disabled list where they remained until they would finally make their way back into the starting rotation throughout various times in the season.
General manager of the Mariners Jerry Dipoto has already made huge strides by taking care of problematic issues within the organization. Dipoto has made 64 trades within the past 27 months since taking over the position.
Additional changes that Dipoto is planning to make during his time as the Mariners general manager are adding more strength to the bullpen. By making this change, the amount of pressure on their rotation will decrease. The Mariners’ pitching rotation was a problematic issue faced in their 2017 season. Due to the lack of depth within their rotation, there were numerous games lost when pitching changes were made with only a few innings left.
The Mariners began their 2018 spring training in Phoenix, Arizona in the Cactus league. Hernandez was struck by a line drive during their game against the Chicago Cubs last Monday, which resulted in him exiting the game. However, Hernandez’s x-rays came back negative: there were no serious injuries. Currently their record stands at 5-4-1 in their pre-season.
The Mariners home opener is set to be March 29 against the Cleveland Indians at 7:10 p.m., the official beginning of their 2018 season.
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