3 moves that could make the Mariners AL West favorites

With a disappointing start to the offseason for many Mariner fans, these 3 moves could set them up as favorites in the AL West

Washington Nationals v Miami Marlins
Washington Nationals v Miami Marlins / Megan Briggs/GettyImages
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Trade for Max Kepler - Emerson Hancock and Jonatan Clase for Kepler

The Mariners have been linked to pretty much every offensive bat this offseason, rightfully so. From Ohtani and Bellinger to Mitch Garver and Justin Turner, the Mariners are absolutely exploring every avenue of improving this offense. Why not return to a rumor that Mariners fans have heard numerous times over the last few years? Max Kepler is said to be available by the Twins as he is in the last year of his contract, coming off the best year of his career since his monstrous 2019 season. In my opinion, when you factor in cost to acquire the player, the player's salary, the offense, defense, and contractual commitment to the player, I don't think there is a better fit for the Mariners than Max Kepler.

Let's start with the money, because obviously that is the most important thing to the Mariners right now. Max Kepler is due only $10 million in 2024, his last season under club control. This is relatively cheap for a plus defender and a bat coming off a 124 wRC+ season. This would be a great way for the Mariners to fill a corner outfield spot without breaking the bank, and 1 year commitment is easier to swallow than say a 3 to 5-year deal for someone like Lourdes Gurriel, who could also command $15+ million per year.

Max Kepler would fit perfectly into T-Mobile, with an average exit velocity over 3 mph harder than the MLB average and an improved launch angle, I wouldn't be surprised to see Kepler run into 25-30 home runs in Seattle. Kepler also controls the zone very well, with a 18.4% career strikeout rate and a 10.1% walk rate. Finally, Max Kepler is a solid, above average right fielder, which could be very valuable with what is most likely a below average left fielder in Dom Canzone. Ultimately, Max Kepler could prove to be exactly what the Mariners need after losing Teo and Kelenic. Of the guys on this list, it wouldn't surprise me if he ended up being the biggest addition for the Mariners, all things considered.