Inbox: What's Mariners' top All-Star moment?

Beat reporter Greg Johns fields questions from fans

July 14th, 2017

's game-winning home run made me wonder, what has been the greatest All-Star moment in Mariners history?
-- Sandy A., Woodinville, Wash.

Excellent question, so I put it to my readers with two Twitter polls. The first one asked: What is the best All-Star Game highlight in franchise history? And I was surprised to see that the winner was "Having eight Mariners at the Safeco Field game in 2001," which earned 40 percent of the vote. Second was 's inside-the-park home run in 2007 at 32 percent, followed by Cano's 10th inning home run on Tuesday with 17 percent and Griffey's 1992 MVP performance with 11 percent.
I also asked what was the Mariners' best "fun" All-Star moment, and that turned out to be a close vote, with Randy Johnson's monumental showdown with John Kruk earning 32 percent, just ahead of Griffey hitting a ball off the warehouse in Baltimore at 29 percent. Griffey winning three Home Run Derby titles was third at 21 percent, with taking his photo with umpire Joe West on Tuesday fourth at 18 percent.
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Any chance the Mariners look to sign long term? Or would they have to wait for him to hit free agency? He's been a huge anchor in the outfield and on the bases.
-- Michael C., Eugene, Ore.

I can't speak for Dyson, but most players prefer to wait to hit the open market in their first chance at free agency to see what is possible. In Dyson's case, he was a 50th-round Draft pick of the Royals in 2006 and never has made huge money. He's earning $2.8 million this year in his final season of arbitration eligibility after totaling $4.4 million his first five years in the big leagues.
So it's certainly possible the Mariners could approach him about an extension, but it's also quite likely he'll want to wait until the offseason. If so, they could look to trade him at the July 31 Trade Deadline for pitching help, knowing he'll become a free agent in two months and they have some outfield depth now with long-term controllable players like , Ben Gamel and Mitch Haniger. Dyson's speed makes him a unique weapon, whether for the Mariners or another playoff contender.
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Will we ever see up with the big club again? I miss seeing his personality around.
-- Kali R., Federal Way, Wash.

Martin has been playing well for Triple-A Tacoma, but the Mariners are in an interesting spot there, with so many of their young outfielders stepping up this season. There's not much room for Martin with Gamel, Haniger and Dyson playing so well that it's hard to get playing time for Heredia, who has been outstanding when given opportunities. So unless someone gets hurt, or should the Mariners move Dyson at the Trade Deadline, it's hard to see Martin rejoining the club until September when the roster can be expanded.
With Sam Gaviglio in Tacoma, does it look like will be given another shot in the rotation?
-- Brenden N., Redmond, Wash.

Gaviglio was only sent down because he won't be needed in the rotation until the fifth game back after the All-Star break, so the club added a reliever -- -- in the interim just to have an extra arm available during that time. Because a player who is sent down needs to wait 10 days until being recalled, that works because the All-Star break counts as four of those days. Gaviglio pitched for Tacoma on Thursday and the plan is to recall him Tuesday to face the Astros when his turn comes up. Gallardo has pitched well in a couple of long-relief outings, but he'll likely remain in the bullpen unless something happens to one of the five current starters.
Will the Mariners ever allow another pitcher to work in the World Baseball Classic?
-- Marty A., Tacoma, Wash.

That's a question that won't be answered until the next Classic in four years, but I assume they will, with the event being supported by Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association and regarded as a big success in helping grow the game internationally. That said, I'm sure the Mariners -- and all teams -- will seek assurances to protect their players as best as possible. Commissioner Rob Manfred said at this week's All-Star Game that he'd spoken to Mariners ownership about their situation of Drew Smyly needing Tommy John surgery after pitching in WBC 2017, but Manfred said studies have shown no correlation between pitchers getting injured more if they perform in the Classic.
He is correct in that there are pitchers who get hurt every year, whether there is a Classic or not. And some pitchers who performed in WBC 2017 have done very well this season. But the timing of the event will always be a concern for teams, particularly regarding pitchers.
What do you think the Mariners have to do to make a late push for a playoff position, being four games below .500 and four games behind in the Wild Card chase?
-- Anthony W., Royal City, Wash.

It's clearly going to come down to pitching. The Mariners need to be more consistent offensively as well, in order to get over .500 and keep climbing. But this is a very good offensive team that's averaged 4.78 runs a game, which is sixth in the American League and pretty good for a team that plays half its games in Safeco Field. If Seattle keeps it up, this will be the second-highest-scoring Mariners team since 2003.
Historically, the Mariners have been near the bottom of the AL offensively but one of the AL's top pitching squads -- helped in part by Safeco Field. But they're currently 10th in the AL with a 4.56 ERA, which is their highest mark at the All-Star break since 2004.
Some of that is a definitely a result of injuries, but the club has and back and healthy now, and general manager Jerry Dipoto may well make a move or two to add a starter and reliever to the mix. If he can make solid additions and keep the current squad healthy, the Mariners could make things interesting.