3 Minor Leaguers who could impact the Mariners' season

It takes a village to get MLB teams through the 162 game season. Here are three players who could play a big part in getting the Mariners back into the playoffs.
Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics
Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

We've written extensively about the high-upside prospects in the Mariners' farm system. These include Cole Young, Colt Emerson, Harry Ford, and Ryan Bliss. While most of those players are a year or more away from the big leagues, plenty of veterans toiling their wears in the upper minors could help this team return to the playoffs. Here are three seasoned vets who should don a Mariner uniform this season. 

#3 - Dallas Keuchel 

Jerry Dipoto, Seattle's polarizing President of Baseball Operations, has emphasized the value of using 10 to 11 starters to navigate a season. The rise in pitching injuries has made teams more cautious with their young arms. However, minor setbacks like the one George Kirby faced in his last start, resulting in teams tapping into their Triple-A depth, are not uncommon. Dallas Keuchel is the type of player front offices rely on for spot starts, primarily because of their seasoned experience and ease of passing through waivers. 

Keuchel doesn't miss bats anymore, but he is the crafty lefty the Mariners lost when they salary-dumped Marco Gonzales this offseason. The 36-year-old starter has performed very well for the Tacoma Rainiers, albeit in a small sample size. Across three starts, he's running a 2.25 ERA with a 3-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. 

#2 - Sam Haggerty

I'll admit it. I was never on the Luis Urias bandwagon. He came to spring training with a dead arm and was out of shape. Thanks to Josh Rojas' hot start, he could be stuck on the bench or even shipped to the 10-day injured list due to a wrist contusion suffered this weekend. Who could Dipoto call on to add more versatility and speed to the bench? How about a guy who's on an absolute tear in Tacoma? 

Sam Haggerty routinely crushes lefties, can play every position except catcher, and provides a late-game pinch runner for manager Scott Servais. The most significant factor in the 29-year-old's favor is that he is currently on the 40-man roster, eliminating the need to dump talent. Imagine a bench including Dylan Moore, Jonatan Clase, and Sam Haggerty at Servais' disposal. Those three alone could steal a few wins for the good guys. 

#1 - Tyler Locklear 

An offseason spent at Driveline has Ty France back and firmly entrenched at the cold corner. However, with Urias' struggles, Tyler Locklear, a prospect with a ton of helium, could play a huge role this season, specifically in the playoff chase. The former Virginia Commonwealth University Ram had a tremendous 2023 across two levels and a breakout performance in the Arizona Fall League. Now, he's driving in runs for the Arkansas Travelers and knocking on the door at T-Mobile Park. 

Locklear offers a unique skill set, including above-average contact, 60-grade power, and elite defense. For those wondering where he'd play at the big league level, General Manager Justin Hollander, in an episode of the Seattle Sports 710 Hot Stove Show, mentioned Locklear's ability to play both infield corners. Worst comes to worst, he becomes a platoon with Rojas, offering the power usually earmarked for the position. 

Players of all shapes and sizes can help their teams reach their playoff dreams, and, in this case, a well-traveled veteran, speedy utilityman, and a power-packed prospect could be just the recipe to get the hometown team back in the playoffs.