The Seattle Mariners (11-2) are the top team in baseball thanks to lefty Marco Gonzales, who won all four of his starts so far and began the season with a 4-0 record.
The Mariners surged to the top of the AL West with stellar hitting from Jay Bruce and Domingo Santana. Those guys are not household names, but they’re getting the job done. After general manager Jerry Dipoto wheeled and dealed significant number of players in the offseason, many fans in Seattle expected a subpar team during a rebuilding year. The current batch of Mariners exceeded their low expectations and became the first team in baseball this season to win 10 games. They currently lead the majors with an 11-2 record.
At the start of Spring Training, the oddsmakers in Las Vegas thought the Mariners were long shots at best. The M’s were 300/1 odds to win the 2019 World Series along with the Baltimore Orioles and Arizona Diamondbacks as the longest shots on the board.
Marco and Jay
The Mariners are crushing it because they were getting excellent hitting and excellent pitching at the same time. Marco Gonzales is the team’s new Ace after James Paxton went to the Bronx. Gonzales won his first four starts with a 3.16 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. Gonzales, 27, played his collegiate ball at Gonzaga in Spokane, Washington before heading to the pros. He’s a career 18-12 pitcher with a 4.34 ERA, but finally has a chance to thrive in Seattle.
Jay Bruce was one of the main components in the Diaz/Cano trade with the Mets. Bruce, 32, played 11 years in the big leagues and belted 286 home runs. He always had a little pop in his bat. With 7 home runs, Bruce passed Gary Sanchez from the Yankees for the AL lead. He’s hitting only .188, which is nearly 60 points lower than his career average, but he drove in 13 runs.
The M’s acquired Domingo Santana in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers. The 26-year old outfielder is currently leading the AL with 19 RBIs. He’s also hitting .345 with 4 home runs.
Shortstop Tim Beckham, 29, is hitting .400 with 4 homers and 11 RBI. He’s a career .256 hitter, which is why he’s come out of nowhere to lead the M’s at the plate.
Jerry Dipoto, a former MLB reliever with the Colorado Rockies and New York Mets, got the nickname “Trader Jerry” because of his willingness to make trades. Some GMs are trade averse because they are not willing to gamble on players or they were unwilling to take the heat from fans and media if the trade never worked out.
The Mariners had a busy offseason. Dipoto was so committed to his job at rebuilding the Mariners while cutting salary that he even made a trade from his hospital bed. During winter meetings, Dipoto had to be hospitalized for a stint but he did not stop working despite being ill.
In November 2018, Dipoto traded the M’s top pitcher, James Paxton, to the New York Yankees. In exchange, the Yanks sent them their best pitching prospect Justus Sheffield. The Yankees want to win the World Series now and could not wait for Sheffield to develop.
Dipoto also leveraged a mega-trade with the New York Mets that is at the heart of the Mariner’s hot start. The M’s shipped reliever Edwin Diaz and second baseman Robinson Cano to the Mets for Jay Bruce and several prospects. Right now, Bruce is tearing up the AL and one of the reasons the Mariners have 11 wins in only 13 games.