So here we sit with the "second half" of the baseball season in front of us. Obviously, the Mariners being 7 1/2 games behind the Texas Rangers changes how you view the team.
It wasn't that long ago where you figured that this four-game stretch against the Rangers could be for the top of the AL West standings. Well, it's like that for one team - just not the Mariners.
Are the Mariners done? Technically, they are not. After the debacle in Los Angeles, most people automatically declared the postseason hopes dashed. Time to go from buyers to sellers ... you know all that stuff.
I don't know if they can come back into the race. There was part of me that was skeptical of them being in the race in the first place. But stranger things have happened. It's difficult for me to believe that the Mariners can get much better. Obviously, their hitting is awful, but the way the team is constructed, it just doesn't seem like a drastic improvement is realistic. They can't get much better pitching than they have in the first half, and look where they are at.
It is a team with minimal strengths and multiple flaws. And really there isn't much the Mariners can do about those flaws other than to simply be better.
So with 71 games left: What do you want to see from the Mariners?
Do you want to see them to make a move or two, give up some prospects and get a couple of bats to try and get back in this?
Do you want to see them sell off some used parts, jettison the non-producing veterans and go young - with the mindset being: "If we are going to struggle, let's do it with our young players in order to get better for next season."
Do you want to see something in between the two? Maybe the idea of getting better not just for the sake of this season, but getting better for the future?
As someone unbiased toward this situation, I would think that putting a competitive product on the field would be expected. It's something that manager Eric Wedge demands. And it's what fans should expect too.
I would expect them to play the majority of the younger players, not just for the sake of the future, but because they are better than the veterans right now. Still, their value - be it negative or positive - as players can only be truly ascertained by playing almost every day. Most fans would rather see a team that struggles using young players with some potential than veterans who have none.
But it really boils down to a person's belief on what they want to see, what they would demand from their team as a fan, what they think is best for the team going forward.