The Mariners have already taken steps to reshuffle their outfield within the offseason’s early going. They landed two-time Silver Slugger award winner Teoscar Hernandez from the Blue Jays for high-leverage reliever Eric Swanson and pitching prospect Adam Mackothen shipped out former Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis for catcher/outfielder Cooper Hummel.
More adjustments might be on the horizon, as president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto knowledgeable reporters (together with Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times) the staff was open to bringing in one other outfielder. The Seattle baseball ops chief unsurprisingly didn’t tip his hand as to particular targets however advised the membership was content material to attend issues out and determine the best match.
“We do have a couple of goal,” Dipoto advised reporters. “There are a handful of gamers that match us that we be ok with particularly because it pertains to outfielders. We really feel like there’s nonetheless a market that’s extra strong. And if we’re simply affected person, we will discover the participant that fits our roster one of the best.“
That does not sound like a declaration the M’s are planning a run at prime free agent Aaron Judgeand defending Rookie of the Year Julio Rodríguez reduces the urgency to go after middle fielder Brandon Nimmo. The Mariners may theoretically pursue Nimmo with a watch in direction of pushing him to the nook reverse Hernández, however there are many different groups with direct wants in middle subject. With the bidding for the previous Met prone to push over 9 figures (and price the signing staff a draft selection), the subsequent tier down appears extra believable for Dipoto and his employees.
Among that group is Mitch Haniger, who’s a free agent after six seasons in Seattle. The M’s opted to not tag him with a qualifying supply initially of the offseason, clearly unwilling to commit him a wage approaching $20MM for subsequent yr. A multi-year deal at a decrease annual time period nonetheless appears a risk, and normal supervisor Justin Hollander advised Divish and others the membership stays in touch with Haniger’s representatives at Apex Baseball.
Other free agent prospects embrace Andrew Benintendi, Prof. Jurickson, Cody Bellinger and Washington native Michael Comfort, who’s trying to reestablish himself as a middle-of-the-order caliber hitter after a season misplaced to shoulder surgical procedure. Bellinger and Conforto determine to land shorter-term, bounceback offers whereas Benintendi and Profar are nearly sure to land multi-year commitments. Dipoto and his employees are among the many most aggressive in scouring the commerce market as effectively, and quite a lot of nook bats may plausibly be mentioned. Anthony Santander, Alex Verdugo, Max Kepler and Jake McCarthy are among the many gamers who’ve been talked about as not less than speculative commerce candidates this offseason. Bryan Reynolds and Randy Aroza’s are much less prone to transfer — significantly Reynolds, whom the Pirates have been reluctant to deal for years — however are positive to attract calls from different groups based mostly on their a number of seasons of arbitration management and persistently sturdy performances.
The Mariners are firmly in win-now mode after a second straight 90-win season that snapped their 21-year playoff drought. Dipoto, Hollander and firm have been and can proceed to be aggressive in constructing round their glorious younger core, however it’s value noting they don’t seem to be devoid of in-house choices who may play their means into a daily position alongside Hernández and Rodríguez.
Jarred Kelenic and Taylor Trammell have not discovered a lot success on the MLB degree, however they’re every former prime prospects who’re nonetheless of their mid-20’s and coming off high quality performances in Triple-A. Dipoto name-checked each gamers, in addition to prospect Cade Marlowe, as inside candidates to take the subsequent step. The M’s may entertain dealing Kelenic or Trammell for a lower-upside however extra steady veteran as effectively, and Divish studies Seattle “shopped Kelenic extensively” finally summer season’s commerce deadline.
There’s additionally the presence of Jesse Winkerwho was acquired final spring within the deal that noticed Seattle assume the ultimate three years of the Eugenio Suarez contract. Winker was the headliner of the commerce from the M’s perspective, however Suárez surprisingly outperformed him of their first season within the Pacific Northwest. Under contract for $8.25MM in his remaining yr of membership management, Winker will not have immense commerce enchantment coming off a .219/.344/.344 displaying.
The M’s may elect to carry him and hope for higher outcomes, however they’ve reportedly floated his title earlier this offseason. Winker performed horrible protection in left subject, and Divish has beforehand advised Winker’s lack of enchancment on that facet of the ball performed a job in him falling into some disfavor within the Seattle clubhouse. At his greatest, the left-handed hitter has proven he is able to affect offensive manufacturing in opposition to righty pitching, however the entrance workplace must resolve whether or not pairing an outdoor addition with a change of surroundings for Winker is a greater match heading into 2023.