The Seattle Mariners were the busiest team in baseball during the offseason. Many felt that they had stolen Cliff Lee away from the Phillies in the Roy Halladay deal. The signing of free agent, Chone Figgins, brought excitement to Seattle. Minor signings of players like Casey Kotchman and Mike Sweeney looked like value picks. Then, they got Junior back.

It looked like the stars had aligned. At least on paper, the M’s were ready for a run in the American League West. Once the season began, the pieces that looked to fall into place, instead, fell apart.

Cliff Lee, poised to make Felix Hernandez’s life a lot simpler, took the scenic route to making his Mariners debut. Lee hit Chris Synder with a pitch during a Spring Training game, leading to a five-game suspension to begin the season. After appeals, the suspension was lifted, but only because of Lee beginning his season on the disabled list with an abdomen injury.

Lee has not been the dominant ace that he was expected to be. With a 3-2 record and an ERA just under three, Lee has been very average in only seven starts this season.

Figgins has been a disappointment for Seattle, hitting just .211 and striking out 49 times in 54 games played. Figgins and Lee account for two of the top four salaries on the squad.

Up to this point, the $11 million gamble on Milton Bradley has yielded a .216 average, three home runs, and 20 runs batted in. Closer David Aardsma has rebounded from his breakout season last year with an 0-3 record and an ERA of almost four. In 71.1 innings last season, Aardsma had allowed 23 runs; in 2010, Aardsma has surrendered eight runs in just 18.1 innings.

With so much promise, the Mariners are last in the AL West (22-33) and are the third-worst team in the American League, in front of just the Cleveland Indians and Baltimore Orioles.

The lone mentions in national headlines this season have included the iconic Ken Griffey Jr. Last month, it was reported that Griffey could not pinch hit during a game because he was sleeping in the clubhouse. This week, Griffey walked away from the Mariners and baseball, retiring from the game at the age of 40.

The Mariners now have an identity crisis and are realizing that the pieces that they purchased in the offseason aren’t fitting. Manager Don Wakamatsu cannot be pleased with his team’s performance this season. Considering the improvements that Wakamatsu made with Seattle last season, it is expected that the manager’s job is safe for this season.

For Wakamatsu and Mariners fans, it is sure to be a long summer in Seattle.

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