Mariners, Phillies and MLB’s Longest Playoff Droughts

Mariners, Phillies and MLB’s Longest Playoff Droughts

Mariners, Phillies and MLB’s Longest Playoff Droughts

There are some MLB teams hoping this season will result in highly anticipated post-season play.

Making the playoffs in professional sports is the first step for fans and franchises to believe they have a shot at ultimate glory. But while some organizations have gotten into the habit of sampling the postseason—think the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have made it to the playoffs for nine straight seasons—others have forgotten what it’s like to play in October.

Here’s a rundown of the 10 franchises with the longest active playoff droughts and their post-season potential as the heart of the 2022 season approaches (all stats as of Friday, June 10):

Last play-off appearance: 2001

Play-off finish (2001): Lost to Yankees in ALCS (4-1)

Notable players (2001): Ichiro Suzuki (RF), Bret Boone (2B), Mike Cameron (CF), Edgar Martinez (DH), Freddy Garcia (SP), Aaron Sele (SP)

outlook for 2022: This season, the Mariners have been around .500 so far and are competing for second place in the AL West alongside the Rangers and Angels. The Astros have run away with the division so far. Outfielder Jesse Winker, an All-Star last season, is off to a slow start. He finished last season with a stroke of .305 and is currently just above .200. The most promising news for the Mariners is the return of outfielder Kyle Lewis. Lewis made his first comeback in nearly a full calendar year on May 25, after a long recovery from a third surgery on his right knee. Seattle will have to warm up to make a run on the wildcard.

Last play-off appearance: 2011

Play-off finish (2011): Lost to Cardinals in NLDS (3-2)

Notable players (2011): Roy Halladay (SP), Cliff Lee (SP), Cole Hamels (SP), Ryan Howard (1B), Chase Utley (2B), Jimmy Rollins (SS), Raul Ibanez (LF), Shane Victorino (CF)

outlook for 2022: Looking at this roster in spring practice, the Philadelphia Phillies seemed to be a lock for the postseason — but so far the battle has been real. Philly is middle-of-the-pack in the NL East and currently under .500. The franchise fired manager Joe Girardi on June 3. A wildcard berth appears to be the corner for the Phillies.

Last play-off appearance: 2014

Play-off finish (2014): Lost to Orioles in ALDS (3-0)

Notable players (2014): Miguel Cabrera (1B), Ian Kinsler (2B), Victor Martinez (DH), JD Martinez (LF), Justin Verlander (SP), Max Scherzer (SP), Rick Porcello (SP), Joe Nathan (CL)

outlook for 2022: The Tigers have revamped their lineup in 2022 in hopes of making a playoff run. The team started the season 6-7 and then lost 12 of 14. They also had two losing streaks of at least six games. Statistically, the offense is one of the worst in the American League, and they are currently at the bottom of the AL Central. The signing of Javier Báez as an off-season free agent has not yet paid off. They will have to warm up – and stay – to compete for a wildcard berth.

Last play-off appearance: 2014

Play-off finish (2014): Lost to Royals in ALDS (3-0)

Notable players (2014): Albert Pujols (1B), Mike Trout (CF), Howie Kendrick (2B), Jered Weaver (SP), Garrett Richards (SP), Matt Shoemaker (SP), Huston Street (CL)

outlook for 2022: The Los Angeles Angels are currently spiraling. They lost 14 of their last 15 and fired manager Joe Maddon on June 7. He was in his third season and compiled a 130-148 record with the franchise. The Angels have a star-powered lineup, with MVPs Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout manning the ship, but they’ve struggled with Anthony Rendon and Taylor Ward’s injuries. Still, a wild card berth is within reach.

Last play-off appearance: 2015

Play-off finish (2015): Lost to Cubs in NL Wild Card

Notable players (2015): Pedro Alvarez (1B), Andrew McCutchen (CF), Starling Marte (LF), Neil Walker (2B), Gerrit Cole (SP), Francisco Liriano (SP), Mark Melancon (CL)

outlook for 2022: Expectations were not high for the arrival of the Pittsburgh Pirates this season. However, they are still in third place in the NL Central. Bryan Reynolds and Ke’Bryan Hayes have emerged as a veteran toward the top of the lineup. A big off-season pick-up was starting pitcher José Quintana, who had double-digit wins for the White Sox in 2016 and was traded to the Cubs in 2017, where he had similar numbers through 2019. A berth with a wild card seems like a long shot.

Last play-off appearance: 2015

Play-off finish (2015): World Championships

Notable players: (2015): Salvador Perez (C), Eric Hosmer (1B), Mike Moustakas (3B), Lorenzo Cain (CF), Kendrys Morales (DH), Edinson Volquez (SP), Yordano Ventura (SP), Chris Young (SP), Greg Holland (CL)

outlook for 2022: The playoffs don’t seem to be on the radar for the Kansas City Royals as they are in last place in the AL Central. There was excitement about Zack Greinke returning to where he started, but he is scoreless (0-4) with an ERA of over 5.00 as of June 9. No pitcher has more than two wins and Brad Keller could top his 14-loss season in 2019 with seven losses so far this season. The wildcard already seems out of reach.

Last play-off appearance: 2016

Play-off finish (2016): Lost to Blue Jays in AL Wild Card

Notable players (2016): Manny Machado (3B), Chris Davis (1B), Mark Trumbo (RF), Pedro Alvarez (DH), Adam Jones (CF), Jonathan Scoop (2B), Chris Tillman (SP), Zack Britton (CL)

outlook for 2022: The Orioles finished 2021 as the worst team in Major League Baseball, meaning 2022 is already an improvement. Adley Rutschman made his highly anticipated debut on June 24 and then there’s Cedric Mullins, Ryan Mountcastle, Trey Mancini, Austin Hays and John Means, all of whom seem to be part of what Baltimore hopes is a bright future. But the wildcard is far-fetched this season.

Last play-off appearance: 2016

Play-off finish (2016): Lost to Giants in NL Wild Card

Notable players (2016): Yoenis Céspedes (CF), Curtis Granderson (RF), Jose Reyes (SS), Neil Walker (2B), Bartolo Colon (SP), Noah Syndergaard (SP), Jacob deGrom (SP), Steven Matz (SP), Jeurys Familia (CL)

outlook for 2022: The Mets’ drought looks set to end this season as they rank first in the NL East. Their offense is top-5 in just about every major statistical category. Pete Alonso crushes the ball, Jeff McNeil hits over .300, and no starting pitcher has a losing record. The Mets are on their way to the playoffs, but can they get past the first round?

Last play-off appearance: 2016

Play-off finish (2016): Lost to Blue Jays in ALDS (3-0)

Notable players (2016): Adrian Beltre (3B), Rougned Odor (2B), Mitch Moreland (1B), Elvis Andrus (SS), Prince Fielder (DH), Cole Hamels (SP), Yu Darvish (SP), Colby Lewis (SP)

outlook for 2022: The Texas Rangers made some high-profile free agent transfers – including Corey Seager and Marcus Semien – in the off-season to improve their record of 60-102 a year ago. Martín Pérez was the brightest star of the pitching staff. On Friday, he is 4-2 with an ERA below 2.00 in 11 starts. Texas is in the middle of the pack in the AL West, meaning a wildcard berth could be what the sights are on.

Last play-off appearance: 2017

Play-off finish (2017): Lost to Dodgers in NLDS (3-0)

Notable players (2017): Paul Goldschmidt (1B), Jake Lamb (3B), JD Martinez (RF), Zack Greinke (SP), Patrick Corbin (SP), Robbie Ray (SP), Fernando Rodney (CL)

outlook for 2022: Off-season, not much has been done to make the Arizona Diamondbacks a playoff candidate in 2022. They signed 37-year-old Mark Melancon to close matches and brought Ian Kennedy back. Christian Walker has proven to be a mainstay in the lineup at first base, producing at the plate. Ketel Marte is the only everyday player to hit a minimum of .250. Arizona hovers just below 0.500. Like many teams on the list, a joker berth seems to be the best bet.


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