2019 Seattle Mariners
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2019 Seattle Mariners / Franchise: Seattle Mariners / BR Team Page
Managed by Scott Servais
The 2019 Seattle Mariners changed course after competing for a postseason slot during most of 2018, before a poor finish knocked them out of the picture, but still with 89 wins, the most for them since 2003. They went through a veritable fire sale after the season, dumping the majority of their front-line players. Gone were 2B Robinson Cano, SS Jean Segura, C Mike Zunino, OFs Guillermo Heredia and Denard Span, DH Nelson Cruz and Ps Alex Colome, Edwin Diaz, Juan Nicasio, James Paxton and James Pazos. In return, the Mariners received a lot of salary relief, some prospects, including a few top-tier ones like P Justus Sheffield and OF Jarred Kelenic, but also some unwanted veterans that teams dumped on them in order to take on other salaries, such as 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion, OF Jay Bruce and P Anthony Swarzak. Overall, however, the picture was a gloomy one, and fans were certain that their major-league worst streak of 17 straight seasons without playing in the postseason was due to continue.
The Mariners started the season with a two-game series against the Oakland Athletics at the Tokyo Dome on March 20-21. This marked the return of OF Ichiro Suzuki to his native land, almost a full year after being let go a month into the previous season. It was sure to be an emotional occasion, but critics were quick to point out that it was a bit of a mockery to have the 45-year-old in the starting line-up for those games, even if his comeback was very unlikely to last beyond these two contests. In any case, Suzuki did start the two games, and Seattle won both, by scores of 9-7 and 5-4, the latter in 12 innings. Ichiro went a combined 0 for 4 with a walk, and announced after the second game that he was retiring for good. The M's newest Japanese star, P Yusei Kikuchi made his major league debut when he started the second game.
Awards and Honors
- Associated Press: "Seattle Mariners season preview capsule", USA Today, March 18, 2019. 
- Greg Johns: "Mariners embark on new era driven by youth", mlb.com, March 5, 2019.