SEATTLE – If the Seattle Mariners’ front office had added more offensive pieces to the roster last offseason, maybe the M’s would not have needed to trade Paul Sewald this summer.
That’s Sewald’s contention, anyway.
Sewald, now closing for an Arizona Diamondbacks team playing in the National League Championship Series, still sounds like a guy invested in the Mariners – and frustrated by some of the team’s roster decisions over the past year.
In an interview with “The Chris Rose Rotation” podcast Wednesday, Sewald said he agreed with the end-of-season comments from Mariners catcher Cal Raleigh about the state of the organization and the need for Mariners ownership to make a strong commitment to winning.
“Had I been there, I probably would’ve echoed the exact same thing,” Sewald said. “I had my frustrations while I was there about the team we had put together as well. And, frankly, that’s why I got traded.
“I’m so excited to be here in Arizona. But a part of me is like, well, if we had done something different, I wouldn’t have been traded and I would have been there and we would have been in a position where we could’ve run it back there.”
The Mariners sent Sewald to Arizona in a trade-deadline deal for infielder Josh Rojas, outfielder Dominic Canzone and minor league infielder Ryan Bliss.
Raleigh, speaking to reporters in the T-Mobile Park clubhouse shortly after the Texas Rangers eliminated the Mariners from playoff contention on the penultimate day of the regular season, had also lamented the Sewald trade.
A few days later, Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto said he had no regrets about trading Sewald, one of the most respected voices in Seattle’s clubhouse the past two years.
“Nobody loves Paul more than we do. He’s a great guy,” Dipoto said at an end-of-season news conference. “The reality is, we made that trade and our second-base play (with Rojas) improved exponentially for the rest of the season.
“And from the trade deadline to season’s end, we led the American League in saves; we led the American League in save percentage; we had the second-best bullpen in baseball. That’s not to be defensive. It’s just to say, sometimes an expression of what bothers you in a moment is an emotional thing, rather than an evidence-based thing. The evidence says we did the right thing.”
The Rangers, who finished last in the AL West with a 60-102 record in 2021, spent more than $800 million on free agents the past two seasons. They trail Houston 3-2 in the American League Championship Series.
“As a group, it felt frustrating that we went from the ALDS (last year), being right there, that we didn’t improve our team as much as we thought we probably needed to,” Sewald told Rose. “Now, Jerry’s job is difficult, and I don’t question how difficult that job is. I love John Stanton and the ownership group as well, and I’m forever thankful for them.
“But when your division rival literally takes you out at your home stadium like that, and all they did was go from last place to two games away from the World Series by spending money, it hits you harder. They went from a team that we used to just wax, to taking our spot in two years by spending. It can be spent irresponsibly. Look at New York and San Diego. Or it can be spent really, really well like the … (Rangers and Phillies) …”