The largest want for the Mariners this offseason is most definitely discovering a brand new second baseman with Adam Frazier now a free agent. Thing is, second base is not a very deep place in free company proper now.
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That’s why a number of the eye with regards to the M’s is on the stellar class of shortstops, with 4 gamers specifically – Carlos Correa, Trea Turner, Dansby Swanson and Xander Bogaerts – searching for large paydays. And sure, signing one would create an issue in that Seattle already has JP Crawford, the 2020 American League Gold Glove winner on the place.
Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto has acknowledged that the group’s “nice desire” would be to signal a participant that may enable Crawford to remain at brief, however he left the slightest quantity of wriggle room with that assertion, and perhaps that is as a result of asking a shortstop to move to second base – whether or not it could be a free agent or Crawford – is a unique state of affairs than it was a yr in the past.
“Something that Jerry Dipoto talked about on the finish of the yr press convention and I used to be form of scratching my head like ‘Is this one thing that is actual?’ – that we’re now listening to from different normal managers – is swiftly second base is now a defensive place once more,” mentioned Shannon DrayerMariners insider for Seattle Sports, on the primary Talking Mariners podcast of this offseason.
What she was getting at is that MLB is instituting rules on defensive shifts for the 2023 season. No longer will shortstops or second basemen be in a position to cross to the opposite facet of second base earlier than a pitch, nor can they place themselves on the outfield grass. That will add an significance for athleticism at second base, a place that lately has not needed to cowl as a lot floor on protection resulting from shifts.
Drayer’s take on that?
“It additionally makes me marvel if you happen to can promote second base a bit bit extra,” she mentioned, “that it’s a extra vital place proper now.”
Her level is that the rule change would possibly make altering positions an easier tablet for a shortstop to swallow as a result of it would not be seen as a lot of a sign that the participant shifting to second is doing so due to an absence of vary or defensive potential. It could additionally be an indication of how the Mariners, and different groups across the league, are approaching the place for 2023.
“It used to be that you simply could go for a Robinson Canó at second base, that you will be searching for far more offense,” Drayer mentioned. “But with the shift going away… and with out the power to cowl for a poor or beneath common and even common second baseman, you have to have someone that may play (protection) as a result of the shortstop will not be going to be in a position to shade over, and you are not enjoying the shifts, which was easier for the second baseman.”
She continued: “It’s not someplace you may simply stash a bat anymore. So the significance of that place swiftly is gaining a bit little bit of highlight, and once more not simply from the Mariners. You’re listening to this from different GMs, as effectively. That form of intrigues me a bit bit, if that may make it a bit bit easier if you happen to do get a shortstop to move both the shortstop that you simply get or JP to second base. And the Mariners will put a premium on that protection, I’m pretty sure of that, particularly with no shift. So alongside these strains, I believe that is bought me trying a bit bit in a different way at these choices.”
You can hearken to the total Talking Mariners podcast with Drayer and Curtis Rogers within the participant close to the highest of this publish or within the YouTube video beneath. You also can subscribe to the podcast via Apple at this hyperlink.
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