The Seattle Mariners broke their offseason silence on Saturday by acquiring All-Star second baseman Adam Frazier from the San Diego Padres, filling their glaring hole at second base and adding a .300 hitter to the top of their lineup. The addition of Frazier makes the Mariners better in 2022, but if they hope to make a significant stride forward, Seattle needs to make a few more moves this offseason.
As it stands right now, the Mariners’ starting lineup consists of the following:
1 – JP Crawford, SS
2 – Adam Frazier, 2B
3 – Ty France, 1B
4 – Mitch Haniger, RF
5 – Abraham Toro, 3B
6 – Jarred Kelenic, CF
7 – Luis Torrens/Kyle Lewis, DH
8 – Jake Fraley/Dylan Moore, LF
9 – Cal Raleigh/Tom Murphy, C
While the Mariners created some magic with a lineup similar to this last season, it’s not a recipe for sustained success. And frankly, it’s not even close; a team with a negative run differential hasn’t made the postseason since the 2007 Arizona Diamondbacks, whose -20 run differential was still significantly lower than the Mariners’ -51 differential in 2021.
One of the easiest ways for Seattle to improve this offseason is through free agency, but the clock is already ticking – the MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement expires on the evening of December 1st, and with the wide expectation that no agreement will come to fruition before then, there will be a league-wide transaction freeze (lockout) starting at the end of this week.
As the transaction freeze approaches, several key free agents are coming off the board at a rapid rate, including Marcus Semien (Rangers) and Kevin Gausman (Blue Jays), who were both pursued by the Mariners. If Seattle hopes to make a free agency splash, it appears they will need to do it this week, and it’s possible they will need to pay over market value for certain players.
Remaining major free agents that the Mariners have been linked to include third baseman/outfielder Kris Bryant, infielder Trevor Story, and starting pitchers Marcus Stroman and Carlos Rodon. If there is mutual interest between Seattle and any of those players, expect a deal to be done before Wednesday night; it would be best for everyone involved.