After the MLB trade deadline, the chemistry of every team changes. Whether it is welcoming new players to make a run at the postseason or saying goodbye to beloved teammates. The deadline can be a time of excitement for some and dismay for others. The Seattle Mariners have gone 3-7 since the July 30th deadline. The question is, have the Mariners had a shift in team chemistry since the trade deadline?
Mariners Trade Kendall Graveman in Shocking Move
The Mariners, who were very much in wildcard contention, traded away Kendall Graveman, who has been one of the best out of their bullpen. This was met with shock and anger from some of the players. The word ‘betrayed’ was used often when describing the trade. Less than a day after an amazing comeback win, the mood was completely changed when Graveman, who had helped get the win the day before, was traded to the team they had beaten, the Houston Astros.
One player on the Mariners, not named, said in an interview that “It never changes. They don’t care about winning. How do you trade him and say you care about winning?” A rather bold statement directed at the head office, no doubt. What could have been a massive motivating win for the Mariners was painted in disappointment. Players were seen crying after saying their goodbyes, when just a mere 24 hours before they were as joyful as they had been all season.
The Good From the Deadline
A professional baseball player’s connections to their teammates are vital to their success individually and as a team. Even though they received a stable reliever in Joe Smith and a dynamic infielder in Abraham Toro, the focus was on what they had lost, a dependable pitcher and a leader in the clubhouse. The Mariners also picked up a great starting pitcher in Tyler Anderson and an experienced postseason reliever in Diego Castillo. However, it was not the deadline players had hoped. Graveman was described as such an essential part of the team that players were blindsided when he was traded. The feeling was that he was almost untouchable because he only made the team better. But such is professional sports. Nothing is guaranteed.
As upsetting as this trade was to both players and fans alike, one player does not make a team. Sure, Graveman positively impacted the Mariner’s team chemistry, but he is not the entire team. The Mariners are in contention because of the play and contributions from the whole roster. The team chemistry of the Mariners simply does not get undone because of one upsetting trade at the deadline. No team gets this deep in the season based on the performance of one player. Pete Rose once said on team chemistry that “… nine men who reach their individual goals make a nice team.” This of course can be expanded to the whole 40 man roster. Reaching a player’s goals individually is what makes the team better.
Success Is a Team Effort
The Mariners have been described as ‘lucky’ this season. The subpar hitting and massive run differential compared to other competitive teams are the makings for a rough patch at some point. Even though Graveman helped the Mariners in a lot of tight games, there were weak areas that needed to be addressed. Toro has already made an impact offensively. There has been a lot of negativity regarding the deadline and the change in the Mariners team chemistry, with the bad overshadowing the good. The Mariners improved where they needed to be competitive, with or without Graveman.
In the end, sports is a business. Players get traded away in deals that don’t make sense. But that is just how it is. Team chemistry means a lot. However, the team also has to pitch and hit and steal bases and field grounders. Chemistry is just one of many components in a team sport. There is no arguing that the loss of Graveman personally affected Mariners players and possibly their play. To say their poor record in the last ten games is solely because of that trade is not an accurate conclusion. Baseball is a mix of chemistry and play and the Mariners need both to be successful in securing a spot in the postseason.
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