Entering the 2023 MLB season, the two givens in the American League West were as follows: the Oakland Athletics would finish in last place, and the Houston Astros were near-unanimous picks to win the division. The Seattle Mariners, coming off their first playoff appearance in 21 years, were expected to be Houston's main contender.
With almost one-third of the season completed, the Athletics are indeed in last place (and are historically bad) but the rest of the division has not quite played out as predicted.
The upstart Texas Rangers — even with Jacob DeGrom's spotty health — lead the division by three games. Houston holds down second place and the Los Angeles Angels are giving Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani enough support to have LA above .500.
As for the Mariners, a 28-26 record is hardly a reason for panic, but Seattle is in fourth place — a full 6.5 games out of first — as the second month of the season wraps up. The Seattle Mariners boast one of the best pitching staffs in baseball but have not been prolific enough offensively, posting the fourth-most strikeouts as a team.
With these concerns in mind, which players have caused the most strife among Mariners fans during the 2023 season?
3 players Mariners fans are fed up with in 2023
Somehow, the Milwaukee Brewers and Seattle Mariners ended up as losers in the Kolten Wong trade this past December. The Brewers sent Wong to Seattle for outfielder Jesse Winker and infielder Abraham Toro.
Winker is barely batting above .200 and Toro is still at Triple-A. As for the Mariners, Wong has hardly been the level of player that received MVP votes in 2019. The second baseman is batting .160 with three extra-base hits in 102 at-bats.
He is also in the midst of his worst defensive season as well. Wong — a two-time Gold Glove winner with the St. Louis Cardinals — has cost the Mariners six runs in the field this year while only appearing in two-thirds of the club's games.
Kolten Wong must play better otherwise he could find himself out of a job in Seattle.
After batting .296 and hitting 36 home runs with 116 RBIs for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2021, regression was always likely for Teoscar Hernandez in 2022. Hernandez still managed a respectable 25 homers, 76 RBI, and a .267 average, and even upped his production in the doubles department with 35 two-baggers.
The Mariners saw enough to acquire Hernandez over the winter for set-up man Erik Swanson and pitching prospect Adam Macko. The veteran outfielder has yet to produce in Seattle.
Hernandez was never much of an on-base guy, but his batting average is down more than 30 points from last year, and has an almost unfathomable 11-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Even more concerning is his lack of power. Hernandez's .400 slugging percentage is easily the lowest of his career, as is his .167 Isolated Power — which measures a player's ability to produce extra-base hits.
The Mariners will need Teoscar Hernandez to improve if the team is going to mount a serious challenge in the AL West.
There is an argument to be made that Matt Brash has the filthiest stuff in all of baseball. The second-year pitcher has a filthy slider he pairs with a 98-mile-per-hour fastball. Yet his elite repertoire of pitchers has not necessarily translated to success on the diamond
Brash leads the majors with 27 appearances out of the bullpen, but has a mediocre 4.57 ERA with three losses. Seven times he has failed to hold the lead or left with his team trailing after entering in a tie game. This includes three blown saves in four opportunities.
Brash is still young (25 years old), so improvements will be made. But with relief aces Diego Castillo and Andres Muñoz both missing time with injury, Matt Brash has not been a consistent enough fill-in.