Note: I'm only really talking about the players, here. The fact that we're going to hire a new front office is most certainly a reason to be excited, if also incredibly nervous.
If you can look past just how often this team has gotten its ass kicked in the present, I can't remember a season that gave us so little reason to be optimistic about the future. I mean, ordinarily even the worst teams in baseball will pull a handful of bright spots out of their sleeves, but if you look this team up and down trying to find a glimmer of long-term hope, you may be amazed by just how little there really is.
Yeah, there's Brandon Morrow. Not only has he finally made the transition to starting, but he's already acquitted himself better than I ever imagined he would on such short notice. But what else is there to be happy about? Is there anything else that isn't going to leave at least a slightly bitter taste in our mouths as 2008 draws to a merciful end?
- Felix hasn't gotten any better
- Bedard exploded
- Silva exploded worse
- Putz exploded then exploded again
- Feierabend has pitched like a #5
- RRS has pitched like a #6
- Dickey has sucked
- Lowe has sucked
- Wlad hasn't hit
- Clement didn't hit
- Clement didn't field
- Clement didn't stay healthy
- LaHair has sucked
- Reed hasn't hit
- Yuni's regressed
- Rebuilding probability makes it unlikely that Beltre returns
- Ichiro moved back to right
Not even Jose Lopez is exempt, as questions about his defense have clouded the impression of his overall value. And it's not even like his offensive gains have been that impressive; he's an above-average offensive 2B, but he's not really a force. The only reason people are so ecstatic with his hitting is that there's so little else to celebrate.
I'm not trying to say this franchise is hopeless. I've gone on record before and I'll go on record again saying that I don't for a second believe we need to rebuild, and that it's possible to both build and attempt to compete at the same time. What I'm saying is that, as much as we can hope for the future, this season has given said hope precious little in the way of support. Wlad and Clement have collected more than 400 at bats between them and instead of hitting like future assets, we're still left hoping that they eventually start to. Do you see what I mean? I feel like I'm not explaining this very well. It's just that...to me, the stretch run for bad teams is supposed to be a time to showcase the future of the organization, but as much as the Mariners have tried, it just hasn't worked. Morrow's the only resounding success. At a time when the talent of the future cornerstones and building blocks is supposed to be flashed on a daily basis, ours in large part remains mostly theoretical, with few exceptions.
That's difficult to sit through. Thank goodness for Morrow, because I can't imagine how much worse this would feel without him, but this remains arguably the most thoroughly unfulfilling season through which I've ever slogged. In almost every respect. Even a hot two weeks from Tuiasosopo would only serve to remind me that Beltre's probably gone by December. Once the dreams of competing went in the toilet, all I wanted was to see guys like Clement and Balentien and RRS (and so on) step up and cement themselves as future regulars, but that hasn't happened, and all I'm left with is the same amount of unrealized hope that I had several months ago. Maybe less. Nice knees, Jeff.
Come November, I'm going to miss baseball. But I'm not going to miss this season. I hate you, 2008. Go away and never come back.