The Mariners need their Outfielders
The Seattle Mariners have a lot of areas that need to be filled to become World Series contenders in 2023 but they aren’t that far off in my opinion. However, I have this mindset because I am making some large assumptions about existing players on the roster.
First and foremost, we need the 2021 Jesse Winker. If you look at his career stats, 2022 was by far the worst season of his career. And yes, things are a bit weird with the recent rumors about his impact on the clubhouse but I have hope. Just based on other years, you would expect him to be able to bounce back at least to a .250 hitter with a .850 OPS. Yes, that may seem impossible after watching him play in 2022 but I think it’s very doable which would add a huge boost to the lineup.
Another player I am counting on is Jarred Kelenic. His defensive work was quite impressive, but his offense was still inconsistent. If he can add offensive value to the team next year, that would also be a big internal addition. With those two players, we would have left field and DH locked in.
Now, as far as external additions, we need to re-sign Mitch Haniger or replace his absence. Mitch didn’t have the greatest of seasons with the bat, but I don’t expect him to continue his regression.
With all that said, if I were Justin Hollander, I’d be focused on adding a top middle infielder and bolstering the bullpen. There are several elite shortstops on the market this offseason and the Mariners NEED to sign one. The offense from our middle infielders was not great in 2022, and now that I think about it, the offensive output from Mariners middle infielders hasn’t been good since Robinson Cano.
So, The M’s need a Trea Turner or a Dansby Swanson to support the offense. As far as where they’d play, I think J.P. Crawford at second base is a realistic option to open up a spot for Turner or Swanson. Turner also has premium value because he has defensive flexibility; he’s played plenty of second base and even center field.
The Seattle Mariners bullpen was solid but there is always room for improvement. There are a few solid names on the market including Edwin Diaz, Kenley Jansen, Craig Kimbrel, Corey Knevel, and Taylor Rogers. The Mariners have done a pretty good job of finding relief pitchers so I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t add a top name, but I wouldn’t count it out.
With all this being said, I think the Seattle Mariners should stick with what they have except for signing one of the top infielders in the free agent pool. Stick with Jesse Winker, Jarred Kelenic, and some of the players that rarely played in 2022 like Kyle Lewis and Evan White. And as the season goes on, if these players cannot produce, the Mariners might go “all in” at the trade deadline to make a Luis Castillo type addition.