Well Mariners fans, it looks as though we will have to wait until at least June to see our team take the field. However, the 2020-2021 off-season will still be crucial for the team in building its next winner.
The Mariners were really counting on the 2020 season to be their season-long tryout of young players to see who would cement their status as “part of the future” and who may need to be replaced. Well, now Seattle will certainly have less time to make those decisions, but they should have a decent idea of where they stand right now.
But while we wait for game action to commence, we are left with very little to talk about in regards to the 2020 season. But that doesn’t mean we can’t discuss what the Mariners may plan to do this winter.
So today, we will try to identify the Top 5 players we expect the Mariners to target in free agency, some 8 months from now. Will it be easy? No. Will it be accurate? What are you, new? But it will be fun and without baseball to watch, any kind of fun should be welcome. With that in mind, let’s get started.
5. Joc Pederson, OF LAD
On the outset, the outfield appears to be one of the few places the Mariners wouldn’t need to go shopping for this winter. With Kelenic and Rodriguez likely to get some serious run in 2021 and players like Jake Fraley and Kyle Lewis likely to start their 2020 season in the big leagues, they appear set on young outfielders.
And of course, this isn’t even taking Mitch Haniger into account. So what gives? Well, let me ask you this: how many of those guys do you trust to give you 130+ games of above-average MLB production? The answer has to be zero. Haniger is the only one to show such skill and he’s done it once in what is about to be his 4th season with Seattle. The others are all still rookies and in the case of Fraley and Lewis, are far from sure things.
In addition, Seattle has talked about a desire to use the DH spot as a rotational position as opposed to the “everyday” DH role, meaning the Mariners could have as many as 5 OFers getting regular at-bats. Remember, in a 162 game schedule, you have 3 outfield spots to fill, meaning you need to cover 486 games of outfield play, plus an additional 162 games at DH, giving you a grand total of 648 games between the 4 spots.
Now, when you divide 648 by 5 players, you get 130 games each. If you figure an average of 4 PAs per game, each player would get 518 PAs, which is more than enough to keep players sharp.
Now, if Fraley or Lewis show every day upside, this spot will likely go to another pitcher. But if there are questions surrounding either one, and there likely will be, Pederson looks like a strong fit in Seattle, particularly against RHP.
Pederson can play all 3 OF spots, and against RHP, can hit anywhere between 1-6 in your lineup. Pederson will be entering his age-29 season and is a safe bet to post a 3 WAR each of the next few seasons, meaning he could earn between $15-$20 million AAV.
For a player who provides above-average tools across the board, that isn’t too shabby.