With the World Series upon us, closing out another playoffs-less year for the Mariners, it’s time to do some looking back upon the year that was. Even as the Mariners broke our hearts yet again by coming agonizingly close to the playoffs, only to fall short, it’s difficult to argue the 2021 season wasn’t a success. The Mariners not only beat almost every pre-season prediction that had them finishing in the cellar of the AL West, they threw those projections down and danced upon them, gleefully sowing chaos across the greater baseball landscape. And for as much as it would be difficult to ever replicate the magic of Chaos Ball and those one-run leads, there are also signs that the team is headed in the right direction, with encouraging performances from rookies and one of the youngest teams in baseball, coupled with steady seasons from team veterans. It’s hard not to be excited about what’s ahead for the club in 2022 and beyond.
But before we get too deep into the Hot Stove season, let’s pause a moment to look back at the individual seasons for the 2021 Mariners and analyze each player’s contribution. Who brought the sizzle to the team’s unlikely playoff push? Who brought a bag of grocery store salad? Who showed up empty-handed and drank all the wine? Over the next month, as the dark days of No Baseball begin to set in, we’ll help you re-live the good times (and, admittedly, the not so good ones) and ultimately take stock of what’s in the Mariners’ cupboard before they go out shopping for new ingredients. Check back on this post for links to each player’s exit interview as a way to warm yourself before the last embers of the fire of the 2021 season before a whole new Hot Stove is upon us.
One note: we won’t be covering every player who took the field for the Seattle Mariners in 2021. First, we want to keep this mostly focused on players who either had a major impact on the 2021 team or will impact the team in the future. Also, we don’t want to re-live the Rafael Montero Experience any more than you do. But if there’s someone fringy you’re really interested in seeing a requiem for—perhaps you’re a big Ljay Newsome fan, or you’re really curious about what Will Vest is up to these days—just drop a note and we’ll do our best to accommodate.