After an encouraging 2020 season at the plate, Dylan Moore of the Seattle Mariners fell back down to Earth in 2021. Moore limped his way to a .181/.276/.334 slash line through 377 plate appearances this year, and his once promising future in Seattle is now looking all but secure.
Despite his struggles offensively, Moore was able to stay on the roster throughout 2021 by playing excellent defensive at multiple positions and stealing bases with efficiency; he swiped 21 bags in 26 attempts, and frequently came on as a defensive replacement in left field late in games.
Dylan Moore has skills that can help the Mariners succeed, but he would benefit from a reset in Tacoma.
This week, Mariners President of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto outrighted utility players Shed Long Jr. and Jake Bauers to Triple-A Tacoma in order to free up space on the 40-man roster before free agency begins in early November; since both players were out of minor league options, they needed to clear league waivers first before getting sent down.
Dylan Moore has three minor league options remaining, so “outrighting” him to Tacoma ahead of the offseason wasn’t a necessary move. However, with the Mariners planning to be aggressive this winter, Moore may not have a spot on the 25-man roster come Opening Day.
In my eyes, having Moore begin the 2022 season in Tacoma would be best for both him and the franchise. His blend of speed and fielding is a special asset, so the Mariners would be ill-advised to try to trade him for a low-tier prospect. Instead, giving him a chance to adjust his approach at the plate while still facing high-quality pitching could help him resurrect his potential, possibly akin to Luis Torrens’ offensive outburst following his mid-season demotion to AAA this year.
While most fans admire Dylan Moore for his heart and hustle, the Mariners can only afford to have productive position players on the roster during next year’s postseason chase. However, if Moore can tap into his 2020 self during an early-season reset in Tacoma next spring, he could find himself right in the middle of that chase.