The Mariners have a good mix of productive veterans and young stars in their outfield, but it’s never a bad idea to add depth.
Ben: For a team that has as much outfield talent as the Mariners, the key is to not block any of it while still maintaining depth. With the health of players like Kyle Lewis and Jake Fraley seemingly constantly in question, I would look for the Mariners to add a short-term addition that would not block players like Julio Rodriguez and Jarred Kelenic.
Adam Duvall is a name I believe the Mariners were interested in at the trade deadline this year, and could look to sign to give their outfield some depth and stability at the beginning of the year, especially if Kyle Lewis is not ready.
Connor: If the Mariners land Marcus Semien in free agency, they are desperately going to need a left-handed bat to balance out the middle of their order. I don’t believe Jarred Kelenic is quite ready for this task, so I hope Seattle dips into free agency and pursues Michael Conforto.
Conforto is coming off of a down season, but has had great career numbers, and could sign a one-year deal before re-entering free agency in 2023 with hopefully a much better market. A one-year deal for Conforto could be around $15 million, but I believe it would be well worth the investment until Kelenic is ready for a middle-of-the-order spot in 2023.
Derek: My plan for the outfield has Kelenic, Haniger and Lewis serving as the primary guys in LF, RF and CF, respectively. With Julio Rodriguez doing damage in the minors, I’d expect him to be with the big-league club before the end of June. Once Julio is called up, he slides in as the primary right fielder and Haniger moves into a more permanent DH role, occasionally relieving the guys in the outfield.
If Lewis can’t stay healthy, I think Kelenic goes back to CF and some combination of Jake Fraley, Jake Bauers, and Taylor Trammell fill in in left until Dipoto can make a trade to offset the loss of Lewis’s bat.
Max: A platoon that could do some serious damage, both Jake Fraley and Andrew McCutchen have elite numbers against opposite handed pitchers. I believe McCutchen could bring both talent and leadership to a team looking to take the next step and break through. Pair him with Fraley or Taylor Trammell, and the left field position becomes a strong point.
In center, Jarred Kelenic really began to turn his rookie season around in the last month of the season. Arguably the team’s best hitter down the stretch, Kelenic should have no worries maintaining his role as the teams center fielder. Look for Jarred to have a breakout 2022.
Finally, coming into a contract year, Mitch Haniger has already fired up Mariners fans with his recent Player’s Tribune article. That said, Mitch had a great 2021 season and was able to hold down the right field position. He may cycle through as a DH for load management purposes, or a potential Julio Rodriguez promotion, but look for Hanny to be the Mariners’ opening day right fielder.