The participant who has been within the highlight essentially the most for the Seattle Mariners over the previous yr actually is not in that spot this offseason.
That’s as a result of there aren’t many question marks about Julio Rodríguez proper now. Not after he posted an American League Rookie of the Year-winning season, and particularly not after he signed a megadeal that might hold him in Northwest Green by way of 2034.
Drayer: Mariners’ Julio Rodríguez wins AL ROY — inside his exceptional rise
That being mentioned, there’s nonetheless a fairly large question about Rodríguez for 2023, and it is one which needs to be answered based mostly on what the Mariners accomplish on the recent range.
The question: Where will Rodríguez bat in Seattle’s lineup going ahead?
The Mariners moved Rodríguez round a bit within the batting order in 2022, however he finally settled into the leadoff spot, the place he made the vast majority of his begins (58 video games). He additionally performed 24 video games hitting third and eight at No. 2, and people are the three probably spots he’ll land subsequent season.
Now, why does this matter? Chiefly due to the wear and tear and tear that Rodríguez may encounter because the No. 1 hitter, which might put extra emphasis on the elite pace that led to him stealing 25 bases as a rookie. Sliding into second base has its risks, after all, and Rodríguez was not immune with slides inflicting each a wrist damage through the season and a finger damage within the group’s closing playoff sport in 2022.
Hitting leadoff has extra advantages than benefiting from his pace, nonetheless, as that spot would assure he will get as many plate appearances as doable. At No. 3, in the meantime, he would get extra alternatives to drive in runs. And on the second spot, it is basically a compromise the place the M’s may get just a little little bit of each.
When it comes to discussing what Seattle’s plan needs to be, Mariners analyst and former MLB pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith falls barely on a distinct facet than Mariners insider Shannon Drayer of Seattle Sports. They each stuffed in Friday co-hosting with Wyman and Bob Mike Lefko and shared their tackle the argument.
“I nonetheless see him on the high of the lineup,” mentioned Rowland-Smith. “Either one or two at this level.”
For Rowland-Smith, the question comes down to whether or not the Mariners see Rodríguez as somebody who wants to steal bases in 2023 or in the event that they fill their gap at second base with a participant who might help in that regard.
“When you need to hold him wholesome, you begin to shut that down,” he mentioned of Rodríguez stealing bases. “Early on, he wasn’t hitting the ball clearly in April, May like what we noticed in direction of the top of the yr, (and) he was working just a little bit extra. Is he going to run as a lot? … (And) in the event you do get one other piece that runs just a little bit as an on a regular basis participant, I believe that is going to push round Julio just a little bit.”
Drayer is a little more steadfast in her view on how the Mariners ought to use Rodríguez.
“I’m in search of that two or that one (to add to the lineup), and I believe that is one thing that they want to tackle this offseason,” Drayer mentioned.
She has an obtainable participant in thoughts, too, that the Mariners may attempt to usher in if a much bigger title leadoff choice like Brandon Nimmo finally ends up elsewhere.
“Bring in Andrew Benintendi, lead him off, hit Julio second – that is form of what I’m form of taking a look at,” she mentioned.
Benintendi definitely might be seen as a match for the Mariners, who’re believed to be in search of one other nook outfielder and doubtless want to add a left-handed bat.
The 28-year-old Benintendi has seven years of MLB expertise, and whereas he would not have a number of pop, he does have sturdy contact and on-base abilities. He slashed .320/.387/.398 for a .785 OPS in 93 video games and made the All-Star Game as a member of the Kansas City Royals in 2022, though his numbers took a dip in 33 video games following a commerce to the New York Yankees (.254/.331/.404 for a .734 OPS).
Drayer admitted that Benintendi is probably not the splashy addition that Mariners followers are in search of, however he would carry to Seattle some vital abilities.
“People will not take a look at it as an thrilling transfer in that, ‘Well, he would not hit a number of dwelling runs,'” she mentioned. “You do not want (extra) dwelling runs. You want guys on base and also you want guys that may drive runs in proper now, and he’s anyone who hits to all fields, fills an outfield want and could lead on off for them.”
What a catch by Andrew Benintendi 👏 pic.twitter.com/JOl0h1fsiY
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) August 14, 2022
You can hear to the total dialog from Friday’s version of Wyman and Bob within the podcast at this hyperlink or within the participant under. And in the event you’re in search of extra Mariners speak, there was loads through the 4 hours of the dwell broadcast that includes three members of the Mariners radio pregame and postgame present crew, all of which yow will discover right here.
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