We are in the final 6 weeks of the Mariners difficult to watch 2019 season. But as we all know, the building of a Major League Baseball Team never really stops, even when there are no more trades to make until November.
In what figures to be a busy off-season for the Mariners and GM Jerry Dipoto many will wonder what the point of spending money this off-season is, while others will demand Dipoto to sign multiple $25 million AAV deals to be satisfied.
But let’s be honest, with the aggressive timeline set forth by Seattle, their only shot is to add in both the trade market and free agency this winter. We can expect an aggressive Dipoto, but perhaps not as aggressive as many would like.
But as we look at the potential pool of over 100+ big leaguers who will become free agents, we ranked the Top 20 options for the Mariners… with a twist. Let’s make sure we are all on the same page before we get started.
First, you aren’t going to find Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg on this list. Could they make sense for Seattle? Sure. Does Seattle make sense for them? No. If you are a pitcher in your prime, why would you sign a deal that would waste at least one, but more than likely 2, of your prime seasons in a rebuild?
The answer would have to be money and while the Mariners have no shortage of that, spending $30+ million a year on one player who isn’t going to be the difference in a world series run for 2020 is a major risk. Basically, I didn’t include many “big names” because I think it is too early to get into bidding wars with World Series contenders for the handful of elite talents on the market today.
Second, we need to recognize how drastically things can change. It is only the middle of August and we don’t even know who will be a free agent. Extensions could be signed before November. Players will be non-tendered or DFA’d before free agency who will make sense for Seattle.
We are working with only part of the potential pool of free agents, to begin with. In addition, the play of current Mariners could drastically impact this list. If Kyle Seager takes his hot streak all the way to October, the need for a lefty power bat goes down. If Domingo Santana ends up getting Tommy John Surgery in September, the need for a right-handed power bat goes up.
Finally, every move made this off-season creates a domino effect for the rest of these ranks. If the Mariners trade for a Matt Boyd type, the mid-rotation arms go down the list. If they trade away Marco Gonzales, the need may go up.
Just remember that a player who makes sense in August may not make sense in October, let alone December. With all that in mind, let’s get started with our number 20-16 free agent targets.