With their 82nd loss last night, the 2011 Mariners have clinched a losing record on the season barring the until now unforeseen possibility of a very long winning streak coupled with a surprising extension of the regular season by Bud Selig under the ‘for the good of the game' clause. Over the now 35 years of Seattle Mariners' existence they have finished seasons with as few as 56 wins and as many as 116 and this 2011 season is on pace to rank in the bottom third on winning percentage, currently tied for 24th with the 1979 and 1986 (67-95) seasons.
Over the franchise history, only 11 seasons (31%) have ended with more wins than losses and only five have broken the winning rate needed to eclipse 90 wins in a full 162-game season. By contrast, the Mariners have an impressive 15 (43%) years with a winning rate below the mark to avoid 90 losses and even have five 100-loss seasons to their discredit. Outside of a dominant four-year run from 2000-3 and a solid 1995-7 stretch powered by what should end up being four Hall of Fame players, the Mariners have done bupkus.
Hope for the future is still there, as evidenced by the warm reception to the news of Jack Zduriencik's extension and the still interesting farm system despite being plundered, in a good way, of its high-level talent this season. I'm curious how people are viewing next year's opportunity. How do you feel right now about the 2012 team? Of course there's a lot left to go between now and next April, but "it depends" isn't an interesting answer. Are you satisfied with how players like Dustin Ackley, Mike Carp, Casper Wells, Michael Pineda, et al have performed and portend for next season? Are you worried about the pitching behind Pineda and Felix or are you optimistic about the quick arrival of Danny Hultzen and James Paxton (and others)? What gives you hope or what holds you back from hope in 2012?