2 Mariners who won't be back despite surviving the Winter Meetings, 1 who is guaranteed to return

With the conclusion of the Winter Meetings, we take a look at who is still not safe and who is guaranteed to be on the 2024 roster.

Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics
Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages
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Guaranteed to be the utility infielder: Jose Caballero

Jose Caballero got a lot of hate last year and we talked about how he upset the Astros and Gerrit Cole. He was forced into a lot of at-bats that he probably shouldn't have with how bad the 2nd base and DH positions were last year, but he held his own. I think we see him in a more traditional utility infielder role this year. Caballero is the utility infielder I am most confident will be on the opening day roster come 2024. Caballero is in his first year of pre-arb and will be cheap for quite a few years, something we can't say for Dylan Moore.

Caballero was worth 2.2 fWAR in 2023 and put up a 96 wRC+, which is below league average, but there are some things to build on. Caballero will hit for almost zero power, and that is fine, what he does do well though, is control the zone. He had a walk rate of 10% and a strikeout rate of 23.6% in 2023, while also stealing 26 bases. But those numbers could get even better, throughout the minors he regularly put up walk rates in the mid-teens and strikeout rates below 20%. I am not sure if we should see Caballero get almost 300 plate appearances again, but I could see him in the 220-250 plate appearances and slash .245/.355/.360 while providing a lot of really good defensive value and stealing 20 bases or so.

Plus, Caballero is just such a pesky player. He plays hard, smart, he does the dirty work, and he gets under the skin of the other team. Remember when the Astros hit him in August, that was the 2nd time the benches cleared with Caballero in the middle of it. I don't know about you, but I love to see a player like that, doing what he can to help his team and get under their skin.