As the 2021 season went on, Mariners fans were slowly, and truly, believing in the team. The fact that they might be able to make it to the playoffs. They got close, but the streak extended to 20 years. It’s been since 2001, and the Mariners haven’t made the playoffs since. They also haven’t made it to the World Series, ever, in their team history.
It’s why I wanted to put together a list of five bold moves that they could make this year to become World Series contenders. I tried making them all semi-reasonable. I could go out and say sign Scherzer, Ray, Rodon, Correa, and Semien, but they aren’t going to spend $150 million in one offseason. It’s not realistic. It would take a fair amount to do the following, but it’s still within reason.
The five moves that the Mariners could make to become World Series contenders would be…
- Sign Robbie Ray
- Trade for German Marquez
- Sign Nicholas Castellanos
- Put Kikuchi in the bullpen
- Get a real Second Baseman
I’m actually going to start with the 5th one. It’s the one that’s most varied. I don’t care how they do it, but they need an answer at second base. Move Abraham Toro over to third, which is his natural position, and find someone to replace him. Does that mean signing Chris Taylor, or someone all the way up to the ceiling of Marcus Semien? Or would it mean trading for someone? It doesn’t matter, just as long as they find an answer at second.
They could do it, as they have a super deep farm system. The window is starting to open, and they need to take advantage. Trading away prospects is always tough, as they could blossom and you could miss out. It’s just as likely that they fade away and turn into players with little to no value. Send Williamson and Polcovich to the Royals for Merrifield. Maybe throw in someone like Alberto Rodriguez. It’s a decent amount to give up, but the return improves the team immensely.
As for Kikuchi, this kills two birds with one stone. The Mariners are likely going to have too many starters to fill the five available spots, and they are also going to need an LH reliever. Move Kikuchi to the pen, and you have a starter who can fill in if need be. You also have a reliever who might be able to touch 100 if he is only focusing on throwing 20-30 pitches in an outing. it’s a potential win/win.
That space in the starting rotation is going to be filled by signing Robbie Ray to a large deal to become your ace. 5-140? Sure, let’s go. Done and done. He’s a potential ace, a high strikeout guy, doesn’t get hurt that often and can go deep into games by today’s standards.
Then, we trade for German Marquez. Yeah, he’s great for Colorado, but they aren’t going to be contending anytime soon. How do we get him from them? Sending off both Justin Dunn and Justus Sheffield, along with someone like Isaiah Campbell or Connor Phillps. They load up their team with controllable pitching, some of which is already league-ready, and save money as well. He’s making $42 million over the next three years, and the Mariners can easily pay that.
So, we’ve gotten the Mariners two stud pitchers to create an incredible rotation of Ray, Marquez, Marco, Flexen, and Gilbert. Now, second base is solved, Toro is at third, and we have a lefty in the pen. They still need a hitter, which is why they should call up Castellanos. The dude can rake and can fill the DH role for the team, spelling Kyle Lewis and Haniger occasionally to give them time at DH. Here’s what the lineup would look like (in whatever order you think would be best.)
- JP Crawford – SS
- Whit Merrifield – 2B
- Ty France – 1B
- Nick Castellanos – DH
- Mitch Haniger – RF
- Kyle Lewis – LF
- Abraham Toro – 3B
- Jarred Kelenic – CF
- Cal Raleigh – C
That looks like a darn good lineup to me. The youngsters are down at the bottom and can have lower expectations with so much focus on the top 2/3 of the lineup. We do get rid of a good amount of youth in trades, but the team is loads better. You’re increasing payroll by around $85 million, and that puts you at $140 million, putting you right in the middle of all the MLB teams.
Could you get bolder? Possibly. I think this is a good mix of what could be bold and realistic for a way to manage the offseason, and would instantly make the Mariners a contender for the World Series.