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A year after ending playoff drought, Mariners left frustrated about falling short

SEATTLE (AP) — Through his play on the field and actions in the clubhouse, catcher Cal Raleigh emerged as a voice willing to speak out about what’s happening with the Seattle Mariners.

It happened at midseason when he called out his teammates for how the Mariners were playing. And it happened on Saturday when Raleigh called out management after Seattle was eliminated from playoff contention with a 6-1 loss to the Texas Rangers.

While Texas was celebrating a playoff berth in the opposing clubhouse, Raleigh made strong comments to Seattle’s front office about the need to improve the Mariners’ roster if they want to compete with the Rangers, Houston and other American League teams.

“Anytime you can add, I mean look over in the other locker room right there, they’ve added more than anybody else and look where it got them,” Raleigh said. “There’s more than one way to skin a cat, that’s for sure. But going out and getting those big names, people who have done it, people who have been there, people who are leaders, people who have shown time and time again that they can be successful in this league is definitely what would help this clubhouse.”

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After snapping a 21-year playoff drought a year ago, this season’s result was a major disappointment for the Mariners. They were mediocre early in the year, climbed back to .500 by midseason and used a 21-win August to jump back into postseason contention.

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But that big August came against mostly sub-.500 teams and Seattle struggled badly in the final month against better teams. Going into Sunday’s finale, the Mariners are 11-17 in September.

The trade deadline was also a point of contention for Seattle. While others bolstered their rosters, the Mariners primary move involved trading closer Paul Sewald to Arizona for Dominic Canzone, Josh Rojas and Ryan Bliss. Canzone and Rojas had flashes in the final two months, but the lack of additional moves and the loss of Sewald was significant.

“Losing Paul at the trade deadline definitely hurt and I think was a big spot in our season,” Raleigh said.

Seattle will have plenty of questions to face in the offseason about the path forward to bolstering an offense that lagged at times, adding at least one starter to the rotation and finding a way to surround young star Julio Rodríguez with more talent.

“I think we’ve done a great job of growing some players here and within the farm system, but sometimes you got to go out and you have to buy and that’s just the name of the game,” Raleigh said. “We’ll see what happens this offseason, hopefully we can add some add some players and become a better team.”

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb