A Christmas Shopping List for the Seattle Mariners
While the focus of Seattle, and all of baseball, is on Shohei Ohtani, the Winter Meetings begin on Sunday. The Mariners have many needs left to address, including those that cannot be filled by Ohtani.
General Manager Jerry Dipoto appears to be solely focused on Ohtani at this point. However; it appears that the Ohtani Sweepstakes could be over before the meetings start. The 23-year-old has already finished meeting with all 7 of the final contenders.
The Mariners have already addressed one of their needs, trading for former Oakland A’s Ryon Healy to play first base. The Mariners also added depth to their utility spot and bullpen.
Seattle appears to have only 1 opening left in it’s starting 9. The team is looking for another outfielder, and has already been linked to Jon Jay. Jay would be a good option, but this would force Mitch Haniger to play center field more, which would be a downgrade over the duo of Jarrod Dyson and Guillermo Heredia deployed by the team last season.
Speaking of Dyson, he also makes sense for a reunion with Seattle. Dyson is an elite defender in all 3 spots, and adds versatility and elite speed to the bottom of the lineup. If the Mariners do land Ohtani, it means more Nelson Cruz in right, meaning fewer at bats for Gamel or Heredia. Signing Dyson to play center could help lessen the impact of Cruz poor defense in right.
Despite the addition of Nick Rumbelow, the Mariners will also look to add at least 2 bullpen arms. In the latest episode of ” The Wheelhouse”, Dipoto mentions he looks for guys with a low BABIP and high strikeouts.
There are a few names that fit this description, including former Mariner Steve Cishek. Sergio Romo has a miniscule .243 BABIP (.300 is average) while averaging over 9 K/9. Tyler Clippard also fits this mold.
In addition to bullpen help, the Mariners also need to add both impact and depth to its rotation. Seattle is hoping the impact comes from Ohtani, but Seattle must be ready with a Plan B.
There have been no indications that the Mariners are interested in either Yu Darvish or Jake Arrieta, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t. The 2017 Free Agent class doesn’t provide many “impact starters”. After the top 2 names, the next best group includes Alex Cobb, Lance Lynn, and CC Sabathia.
Fortunately, there a plethora of quality, back-end, depth pieces in this class. Some names include Jeremy Hellickson, Jhoulys Cacin, and Jaime Garcia. The Mariners currently have just 3 rotation spots locked in with James Paxton, Felix Hernandez, and Mike Leake on the roster.
Next: Could the Mariners Be the Favorite for Shohei Ohtani?
Tomorrow, we will take a look at some of the in-house possibilities , as well as potential trade pieces as we gear up to the Winter Meetings. The way things are going, this could be the most exciting meetings in years.