2001. That’s the last time the Mariners had made the playoffs. It was the longest postseason drought among the “big four” professional US sports leagues. That drought is now over. The Mariners made it to the playoffs and dispatched the Toronto Blue Jays in the wild card round. In game 1 of the ALDS, they chased Justin Verlander and had the Astros on the ropes until Yordan Alvarez broke their hearts with a three run walk-off homer. Game 3 was memorable too: a 1-0 Astros win…in 18 innings. That tied the record for longest ever postseason game. A few days prior the Rays and Guardians combined for 39 strikeouts and got to the 15th inning scoreless, both postseason records, both broken by the Mariners vs Astros game 3 as they struck out 42 times and obviously got to the 18th inning still scoreless.
Their lineup boasts the reigning AL Rookie of the Year, Julio Rodríguez. He hit .284/.345/.509, had 5.3 WAR. He also cranked 28 home runs, 25 doubles, and swiped 25 bases. You want to know who else has had 25 homers, 25 doubles, and 25 stolen bases in a season by the age of 21? Rodriguez plus two other players, ever: Mike Trout and Andruw Jones. That’s good company. He was also rewarded with a massive contract, worth at least $210M and potentially $470M. He will call the Pacific Northwest home for a long time.
They don’t have a lot of key free agents. Carlos Santana has departed to be a Pirate. On the trade front, the Mariners have acquired outfielder Teoscar Hernandez from the Blue Jays. They hope he continues his slugging ways and complements Rodríguez in the lineup. They also traded away outfielder Kyle Lewis, the 2020 Rookie of the Year to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Over the past two years he has had 3 knee surgeries, limiting his playing time.