The Seattle Mariners are the worst franchise in pro sports. It’s not even up for debate.
Today the Mariners traded their ace pitcher James Paxton to the New York Yankees for one good prospect and a couple of throw-in pieces. Because when you can trade away an All-Star caliber pitcher right after he has turned 30, you just gotta do it.
In exchange for Paxton, the Mariners receive pitcher Justus Sheffield, the Yankees’ top prospect (the 31st ranked prospect in baseball according to MLB.com), pitcher Erik Swanson (only the Yankees’ 22nd ranked prospect), and outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams (who isn’t even ranked). If a package had been built around Sheffield and other top-tier prospects, it might be defensible as the team looks to rebuild. But as is? It’s a pathetic return to say the least.
The Mariners are clearly in seller mode. The word among baseball insiders is that they’re planning to rebuild in an attempt to contend in the 2021 season… which would mark 20 years since the team’s last postseason appearance. Looks like Felix Hernandez will never pitch in the postseason! Fun! But hey, at least the franchise extended general manager Jerry Dipoto for no good reason after wildly overachieving the first three months of this season (before crashing down to earth with a thud).
Maybe this trade would be easier to swallow — after all, it’s far from the club’s first cringe-worthy deal — if all other aspects of the Mariners’ franchise weren’t also a garbage fire. There was the team executives’ history of sexual harassment (which had no real consequences for the men involved). There’s the $135 million of taxpayer money the team finagled out of the King County Council for stadium upkeep (while they keep all the new T-Mobile money for stadium naming rights). And just last week, Major League Baseball was forced to launch an investigation into allegations of racial discrimination brought by a former female employee. It really says something when you’ve got the longest playoff drought in sports, and your franchise is actually more of a disaster off the field.
If anybody can find one good reason to support the Mariners at this point, I’m all ears.