The Mariners haven’t finished above .500 since going 85-77 in 2009 and haven’t made the playoffs in more than a decade. Yet, they’ll finish 2014 with about as many wins as losses, according to Las Vegas sportsbook Bovada.com.
As of Wednesday, the site had the Mariners’ over/under for wins at 81.5 and their odds to win the AL West at 7/1.
Believers in new manager Lloyd McClendon, new second baseman Robinson Cano and the promise of the Mariners’ young talent have other ways to bet little to win big. Bovada.com gives Seattle a 28/1 shot to win the 2014 World Series and a 14/1 chance to win the American League Pennant.
If those odds seem generous for a team coming off a 71-win season, a gander at their AL West peers provides perspective.
The Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are both 2/1 to win the division. The Texas Rangers are the favorites at “+190,” which translates to 1.9/1. Pragmatically, it means a gambler could risk $10 to win $19.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, meanwhile, lead all teams with an over/under of 92.5 wins. The Houston Astros, a black swan in what should be a competitive AL West, round out the bottom at 62.5 wins.
Playing the Astros 19 times last season was supposed to boost the Mariners win-loss record. Instead they went 10-9 and showed how far they were from being a real threat to the Rangers, A’s and Angels.
Speaking at the pre-spring training luncheon in late January, Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik tried to temper expectations for 2014.
“We all want to win a World Series. That would be your goal, no question about it… but 29 other general managers would also say that. What I hope happens is we see really good growth. We see these players maximizing their talent. That’s all you can do.
“You could say this is what we want to do and then you get three guys hurt and it changes. We need to grow, have this team gel, have Lloyd and his staff wrap their arms around them and have each guy be the best player they can be. Play as a team. Let’s see how that concept works for us and let the pieces fall where they may.”
Zduriencik said the Mariners will fear no team.
“We’ve got some good teams in our division, but so what? If we play well, we can play with anybody.”
Will a new attitude be enough to win 11 more games? Is another 90-loss season inevitable? Vote.