What next for Mariners?

Updated: April 23, 2003, 8:46 AM ET
By Jim Baker | MLB Insider
Art Thiel poses an interesting question in today's Seattle Post-Intelligencer: are the rebuilding Indians -- in Seattle this week -- a foreshadowing of what the future will look like for the Mariners?

Like the Indians, the Mariners experienced a fantastic upsurge of interest and winning in the 1990s. While the Mariners managed to continue winning in spite of shedding big name stars one at a time, the Indians seemingly lost all their great over night, landing them in the position of having a rebuilding program. Now that the Mariners roster is aging and there does not appear to be much offensive help in the farm system, Thiel wonders if the team will begin looking to the future by trading some of their pitching to shore up future lineups.

While it is best to be able to change players on the fly -- something the Mariners have managed to do while losing Randy Johnson, Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey, Jr. and Jay Buhner, it does not always work out that way. Says their vice president of baseball administration, Lee Pelekoudas, "Every team tries to have a three- or four-year plan, but you have to be flexible to adjust when things change. Sometimes you have to go left or right. And sometimes you have to take an off-ramp."
Jim Baker is an author at Baseball Prospectus and a frequent contributor to Page 2. You can e-mail Jim at bottlebat@gmail.com.