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Well, that hurt.

Seattle Mariners v Houston Astros Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The trade deadline is a funny thing. It gives fans and organizations, regardless of their current record in the standings, a bit of excitement. It’s kind of like your birthday in that sense. Unless you’re the Yankees, the trade deadline is a day dedicated to making your team or your team’s future better. It brings happiness.

Well, that day has come and gone and the unfortunate reality of the current circumstances for the Seattle Mariners came back and reared its ugly head tonight.

Did it have to be at the hands of Wade Miley? Come on.

Indeed, the Houston Astros took Friday night as an opportunity to prove once again how superior they are. Their offense is very good. Their pitching is very good. But hopefully, maybe, it was a look into to what Seattle is trying to building for 2021 and beyond.

The Houston Astros tee’d off on Seattle pitching with homegrown talent, something Seattle will need to replicate should they be the World Series competitor Jerry Dipoto envisions in the not too distant future.

Home runs by Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and Yordan Alvarez put the game out of reach pretty quickly. All three players matured and developed in Houston’s organization, eventually reaching the big leagues and contributing in a big way. Correa is a former #1 overall pick. Altuve went undrafted, but hit his way through Houston’s system. Alvarez was acquired from the Dodgers during the rebuild in exchange for reliever Josh Fields. Jake Marisnick also popped a home run of his own. He played in just 14 games with the Marlins before being dealt to Houston.

The Mariners will must rely on this blueprint for success if they hope to compete at the highest level in 2021.

It’s not hard to imagine.

Jarred Kelenic could be the high draft pick anchor that Correa has proven to be.

Julio Rodriguez could be the big bat that George Springer is for the Astros.

It’s not hard to imagine Evan White producing a similar stat line to that of Alex Bregman.

The Astros spend most of their monies on free agent starting pitchers. Granted, they’ve struck gold in reclamation projects like Justin Verlander and Charlie Morton a year ago, but guys like Gerrit Cole and Zack Greinke are proven stars would will earn their paychecks.

Reliable acquisitions like Michael Brantley and Josh Reddick further supplement a well-developed organization.

Over the next few years, the Mariners will have their opportunities to spend (or overspend) on guys like Zack Wheeler, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Corey Kluber, Gerrit Cole, Robbie Ray and Trevor Bauer. Other guys will emerge in that time that are certainly worth supplementing your roster with as well.

It’s still too early to tell who from this crop of talent will be on the “World Series caliber” team of 2021 and beyond, but tonight offered a brief glimpse into some new faces that are attempting to make their case.

New to the 40-man roster tonight were relievers Reggie McClain and Zac Grotz. McClain, 26, has done nothing but dominate at every level of the system this season after transitioning into a bullpen role last season. His velocity is up, as is his strikeout rate.

Grotz, 26, dominated AA Arkansas this year to the tune of a 2.51 ERA.

It wasn’t a great night for McClain, surrendering three earned runs on two dingers. He did, however, strikeout two batters in the process.

Grotz fared a little better, surrendering just one walk in a scoreless seventh inning.

It’ll take some time before we really knows what these guys can bring to the table, so the small sample sizes should be taken with a grain of salt.

Not lost in all this is the struggles of Yusei Kikuchi. 118 innings into his rookie campaign, Kikuchi’s ERA has risen to 5.49. His slider is flat and it’s clear he’s struggled to get a feel for the baseball used in the states. Kikuchi still has a ton of time to rediscover what he’s capable before anyone she deem him a miss. It sure would feel better if fans got a glimpse of that before the season comes to an end.

Listen, all of these games shouldn’t be viewed in a vacuum. Each plate appearance shouldn’t be watched under a microscope. The important piece of 2019 is to watch the team grow and mature. There’s going to be a lot of clunkers.

One game at a time.