Mariners 2023/24 FA Rankings: #3-5
#5: Jung Hoo-Lee, OF Kiwoon Heroes
SoDo Mojo has talked about Jung Hoo-Lee quite a bit, and it is for a good reason, this dude can play. The "Grandson of the Wind'' brings elite speed, defense, and contact skills to a lineup that desperately needs it. One of the great players in Korean baseball history, Hoo-Lee's floor is an elite 4th outfielder with game-changing speed. His ceiling is one of the best contact bats in baseball, with sneaky power. Expect a contract similar to what Boston gave Masataka Yoshida last winter, and that's a deal Seattle has to jump on.
#4: Yoshinobu Yamamoto, SP Orix Buffaloes
While Hoo-Lee is the best international hitter available, Yoshinobu Yamamoto is one of the best incoming international pitchers we've seen. The two-time defending PBL MVP is just 25 years old and will be a #2 starter on most ball clubs. Yamamoto possesses a mid to high 90s fastball and a devastating splitter as part of a five-pitch repertoire. Yamamoto will be in high demand.
#3: Blake Snell, SP San Diego Padres, $23.5 AAV
The third native son of Seattle in this free agent class, Blake Snell will likely provide Seattle fans a lot to discuss this winter. Snell is one of the very best pitchers in the game. He's a former American League Cy Young winner who is going to win the National League Cy Young this year. From about July on, he's been the best pitcher on the planet. There are also rumors and smoke all over about his desire to return home and be a Mariner.
This is all great, but it's not that simple. Much like Robbie Ray, Snell has some concerning metrics, specifically his command, and ability to pitch into the 7th inning. The Mariners appear to be overloaded in pitching, and may not want to close to $25 million a year on another pitcher. Signing Snell immediately gives the Mariners the best rotation in baseball, despite Snell's flaws, and it allows Seattle to trade a young pitcher for a legitimate bat. I think this is a hometown, home run move that Jerry Dipoto needs to look at seriously.