A Little Probability…

In a follow-up to last week’s post about the Mariners needing to look ahead to next season, I thought I’d crunch some numbers on their chances of winning the division this season. You know, just to rationalize the whole looking-forward-to-next-season-thing.

Let’s just say the Mariners are truly a .500 team. We’ll say they’ve gotten unlucky thus far, and on any given night out for the rest of the season they have a 50% chance to win. And let’s suppose also that Texas is the same, a .500 team that’s gotten a bit lucky. In this scenario, the probabilistic chances that Seattle makes up the 13 games they are behind is 3%. And of course, that’s supposing that Seattle is a fair amount better than they’ve played, and Texas is worse.

Now let’s again take Seattle to be a .500 team. Erik Bedard’s coming back, and Griffey isn’t holding back the offense anymore, so .500 doesn’t seem so far-fetched. But Texas is definitely better than .500. Second baseman, Ian Kinsler, missed the whole first month, and outfield slugger, Nelson Cruz, is about to come off his second DL stint. And they’re still leading the division! Texas can be expected to win at least 55% of its games the rest of the season, and that’s probably a conservative outlook. What does that mean for the Mariners? 3% goes to 0.5%.

To complicate matters for the Ms, apparently there are two other teams in the division ahead of them other than the Rangers. Even if they catch Texas, there’s some chance either the A’s or Angels will still be ahead. Translation: Seattle’s chances of coming back this season are virtually 0%.

You might ask, why don’t the Mariners try to re-sign Cliff Lee, get a bat (or three) in the off-season, and make a run next season? By keeping Lee for the next 95 games, the Mariners would effectively be throwing a few million dollars out the window (see paragraphs above). The Ms have a lot of needs right now, and getting hot prospects and solid major leaguers in return for Uncle Cliffy (part deux) will likely be more valuable for the future than keeping him this season. In all likelihood, Lee will enter free agency not wanting to resign with Seattle anyway. Seattle has averaged a whopping 3.9 runs per game in Lee’s starts. What’s sad is that’s the highest run support for any Mariner pitcher. He’s pitching as well as he ever has this year, and his trade value is soaring. Seattle needs to take advantage because he won’t want to resign, and the only thing they’ll get from him is a break-up letter and two draft picks. And they might not even get the letter…


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