In the wake of the Seattle Mariners' elimination from postseason contention after a devastating loss to the Texas Rangers, catcher Cal Raleigh didn't shy away from expressing his sentiments. Following the defeat and subsequent Houston Astros win against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Raleigh emphasized the need for his team to emulate clubs like the Rangers.
"When we talk about commitment to winning, it's about being proactive, like getting those star pitchers or those powerhouse hitters you notice other teams signing," Raleigh passionately conveyed to journalists, including Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times.
Raleigh Urges Bolder Moves
He appreciated the Mariners' emphasis on nurturing talent within, stating, "We've cultivated incredible talents here and in our farm system, but sometimes, to truly compete, you've got to splash the cash." Raleigh, seemingly envious, pointed out the Rangers' bold moves, saying, "Just look at their lineup.
Their offseason and trade endeavors speak volumes about their dedication to winning." Indeed, the Rangers have been on a shopping spree, securing players like Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, and Jacob deGrom with jaw-dropping contracts.
Their ambitious trades for Max Scherzer, Jordan Montgomery, and Aroldis Chapman were clear indicators of their intent to reclaim the American League West title, a feat they last achieved in 2016. On the contrary, the Mariners' financial restraint was evident, with this season's Opening Day payroll even lower than any between 2015-2019.
Their headline-grabbing move involved trading closer Paul Sewald, a decision Raleigh openly criticized, highlighting several close games where Sewald's presence could've tilted the scales. Notably, Sewald showcased a remarkable 124 ERA+ with the playoff-destined Diamondbacks.
Mariners' owner John Stanton's remarks in August seemed non-committal about aggressively pursuing dual-threat sensation Shohei Ohtani. "While Ohtani is undeniably a gem," Stanton said, "our approach centers around nurturing homegrown talent.
Although we'll always scout for free agents to bolster our ranks, we believe in our squad, with or without Ohtani." Admittedly, the Mariners did have a moment in the sun, procuring Luis Castillo from the Reds in 2022 and inking a deal with the then reigning American League Cy Young Award winner, Robbie Ray.
Sadly, Ray sat out most of 2023 due to Tommy John surgery. Despite the Mariners' strides, Raleigh's yearning for success, akin to the Rangers, is palpable. While the Rangers bask in their postseason berth, Raleigh and the Mariners can only reflect on what could've been.
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