Mariners should stay the course

Seattle shouldn't mortgage its future to chase playoff dreams

Updated: June 30, 2014, 12:08 PM ET
By Paul Swydan | ESPN Insider

Robinson Cano Otto Greule Jr/Getty ImagesRobinson Cano has breathed some life into a franchise that hasn't made the playoffs since 2001.

When they made the longest flight in the majors from Miami back home to Seattle after their game on April 20, the Seattle Mariners were four games under .500 (7-11), which was about where most people thought they would be this season. And when they dropped their next two games to Houston to fall to 7-13, things looked even grimmer. But the Mariners would bring home a walk-off win the next night, and have essentially been rolling ever since.

Since that 7-13 start, the team has gone 37-25, and has played itself into the crowded American League playoff picture. In fact, the Mariners would win the second wild-card spot if the season ended Monday -- sitting at No. 10 in the latest power rankings -- and it's the time of year when many are wondering if they should they go "all-in" and push for a playoff run.

You could hardly blame Mariners fans if their immediate response to that question is a resounding "Yes!" The team hasn't reached the postseason since its 116-win squad got kicked to the curb in the AL Championship Series back in 2001, and the team remains one of two teams to have never reached the World Series (the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals are the other). However, the team might want to hold off on pushing all its chips to the center for at least one more season.

Offense beyond repair

This past offseason, the team wanted to shore up its offense, and with good reason: In 2013, the Mariners finished 23rd in the majors with a 92 wRC+. To improve their hitting, they signed Robinson Cano, Corey Hart and Logan Morrison. That hasn't had the effect many think it has.