Commentary: Mariners ownership must listen to its own players and fanbase, and open checkbook to win

We said it in no uncertain terms right here last week – that the final seven games would determine whether this Mariners season was a success or failure. Now that we have that answer, maybe – just maybe – there’s a silver lining, but only if ownership is listening.

The M’s missed the playoffs, not only falling short of expectations, but going 4-9 against a Texas Rangers team that opened its checkbook last offseason, and reaped the benefits. The Rangers spent 97 million more dollars this year than last year, and went from having the 15th highest payroll in baseball to fourth. Corey Seager went out of his way to mention that after the game.

"To be able to go out and spend some money and get the guys we needed in here – and this is what the reward is," Seager said. 

 It’s not a difficult concept, really. And at the very least, spending that money shows its fanbase how committed a team is to doing everything possible to win.

In fact, Mariners catcher Cal Raleigh was all of us when he spoke out after the game. 

Said Raleigh: "We’ve got to commit to winning, we have to commit to going and getting those players you see other teams going out (to get), going for it, getting big-time pitchers, getting big-time hitters. We have got to do that to keep up… sometimes you have to go out, you have to buy, and that’s just the name of the game."

"Going out and getting those big names, people who’ve done it, people who have been there, people who are leaders, people who have shown time and time again that they can be successful in this league, is definitely what would help this clubhouse, would help this team."

On behalf of an entire fanbase that watched the Mariners roll out Tommy LaStella and Kolten Wong as Opening Day starters at DH and second base, I’d like to thank Raleigh for speaking out. He apologized earlier today, but frankly, there was no apology necessary – his honesty was appreciated and he was speaking the truth. 

And by missing the playoffs, maybe – just maybe – these points hit harder than they would, had the M’s found a way to slip into the postseason. I mean, the fans have said it since March and April. Their own players are saying it now. And even rival teams, celebrating on the Mariners home field, are living proof. A significant financial commitment isn’t necessarily a guarantee for success, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. 

Once again, the Mariners were named the most profitable team in baseball by Forbes last season, but seemingly refused to open its checkbook all the way. It’s far past time for ownership to issue a blank check, at the very least to show its commitment to winning. 

This team already has solid pieces to build around. Its future undoubtedly has the potential to be bright. And don’t get me wrong: No one – from the front office to the manager and coaches to the players themselves – should be exempt from blame after this season’s failure to reach the playoffs. 

But we’re back to sitting here in October with no more Mariners baseball to watch and as the only franchise to never reach the World Series.

None of that is acceptable. And the responsibility starts and ends with those at the very top.