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Seattle reliever Alex Colome is just one of several players the Mariners have traded away as they go through the rebuilding process.

Two things about the impending trade of Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to the Mets, on top of all the other foundation-ripping moves the Seattle Mariners have made and the inevitable ones still to come.

Dark, desolate times are ahead, no way to sugarcoat it. The Mariners will be a lousy baseball team in 2019 and 2020. Then we’ll take inventory and see how the rebuild is going, but you can probably add on a couple crummy years on top of that. That’s if they’re lucky.

This is nevertheless the right way for the Mariners to go, weighing all the circumstances at play.

Reconciling those two opinions will be difficult, maybe impossible, for Mariners fans, who have been beaten down by so many years of bitter disappointment and management malfeasance. And it’s important to note that it’s the right way for the Mariners to go only because of a tidal wave of bad decisions they’ve made over the years.

But that’s where they are. And there’s salvation in squarely facing reality.

This is a potential path out of the vast middle ground they have found themselves mired in. I’ve gone over this before, but they are light years behind the Astros in their own division, and the Red Sox/Yankees in the wild-card race. So for the foreseeable future, their best-case scenario was the second wild card.

On top of that, the 2018 Mariners were an 89-win team in name only. Their path to that total last year was so fluky, and so unsustainable, that I give Jerry Dipoto credit for not clinging to the wishful delusion that they were better than that. Anyone with any baseball acumen could see the Mariners were headed for a fall in 2019.

So now Dipoto has started the process, with the fervent hope that when it all gets rebuilt, they will be in a far better place than they would have been by muddling along, hoping for miracles.

They’ve traded their ace pitcher, James Paxton. They’ve traded their defensive-whiz catcher, Mike Zunino, and one of their shutdown relievers, Alex Colome. They’re letting their best power hitter, designated hitter Nelson Cruz, move on with minimal or no effort to re-sign him. Same with outfielder Denard Span.

And now, once the deal is officially announced, they’ll be without their unparalleled reliever, Edwin Diaz, and their superstar second baseman, Robinson Cano. After that, you can pick names out of a hat to see who’s next to go: Jean Segura? Mike Leake? Dee Gordon? Kyle Seager?

Dipoto is doing what he has always resisted: Tearing it down to the studs, to use his phrase. Or, if Dipoto decides to hang on to Mitch Haniger, their best and most marketable player remaining, tearing it down to the stud.


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