Seattle Mariners: Will Rebuilding Project Ever End?

Todd PheiferAnalyst IIIApril 22, 2013

SEATTLE, WA - APRIL 09:  Starting pitcher Brandon Maurer #37 of the Seattle Mariners gets a visit from catcher Jesus Montero #63 in the first inning against the Houston Astros at Safeco Field on April 9, 2013 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The Seattle Mariners are struggling...again. The 2013 season is starting to look a lot like 2012. And 2011. And 2010.

At this point, fans might take 2009 (85-77), even though that would probably be good for third place in the American League West. At 7-13, the Mariners are not exactly setting a positive tone for the rest of the season.

The start of the season wasn’t great, but it was decent: a split with Oakland A’s on the road and two close losses to the Chicago White Sox, including one in 10 innings.

Finally the Mariners played Safeco Field on April 8 and pulled off an impressive 3-0 home debut. Then, the wheels came off.

Seattle gave up 24 runs to the supposedly inept Houston Astros over two games. This began a 12-game string where the Mariners lost nine contests. The latest insult just ended on April 21, when the Texas Rangers completed a three-game sweep and outscored the M’s 23-3.

Sigh. Growl.

Here we go again. Another season where it is tough to be a fan of the Mariners. The fans in the Emerald City have basically deserted the team. After a great crowd on April 8, attendance has hovered between 10,000-24,000 fans.

Most of the games have been on the lower end, including the 10,493 that watched the Mariners lose 8-3 to the Astros on April 10.

When will this rebuilding project start to look like a finished masterpiece? Ever? Or, will this franchise permanently have signs up that say “Pardon Our Mess” or “Open During Construction”?

When will Dustin Ackley, Kyle Seager, Jesus Montero, Michael Saunders, Justin Smoak, Nick Franklin and Mike Zunino start hitting a collective .275 as a team?

When will Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen and James Paxton join forces with Felix Hernandez to field the nastiest rotation that baseball has seen in years?

Patience, right?

Unfortunately, it is hard to look at the current economic climate in baseball and be optimistic about the future. Money cannot buy championships, but it can certainly buy more opportunities. Think raffle tickets.

Remember the good old days? Ken Griffey Jr. hitting bombs into the seats. Randy Johnson blowing away opposing batters. Edgar Martinez stroking doubles into the gap. Jay Buhner gunning down runners trying to take third. 116 wins in 2001. The good old days.

Those days are starting to feel like ancient history. Will the Mariners eventually build such a team again? Do the Mariners have a young hitter in their lineup that will someday be a legend like the icons on the past?

It is hard to say what plagues this franchise the most. Lack of funding? Wrong player selections? Inability to develop young talent?

Or is it simply an elusive attitude that allows some teams to win and others to always fall short?

Regardless, it is hard to know where this club is going. Will things be different in the next couple of seasons? Or, will all of these youngsters suddenly be pedestrian players in their late 20s that are still hitting .230 for the year?

Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times probably tweeted it best:

Time for #Mariners to talk is done. Now, they need to show some fight.…

— Geoff Baker (@gbakermariners) April 22, 2013

Indeed. Enough excuses. Enough waiting. Time to win. Now.