3. Tyler Locklear is the third prospect to keep
Tyler Locklear is the only prospect on this list who has already reached the Double-A level. He started the 2023 season on a tear with Everett but then got hit on the hand and missed time due to a broken hand. He then came back and was promoted to Double-A. In Arkansas, he hit .260/.383/.403 in 22 games and had a nice showing in the Arizona Fall League. He could be the first of this trio who is ready for the big leagues because he is three years older than the other two and plays the least demanding defensive position.
I would not expect to see Locklear in a Mariners uniform in 2024 unless he absolutely rakes with Arkansas and then earns a Triple-A or a big league call-up. He could also be connected to Ty France's performance because if France is struggling and Locklear is surging, the front office could look to swap the two at first base to try to get better production at a cheaper price. If France has a subpar 2024 then he could be a non-tender candidate and then we could see Locklear in 2025.
Prospects have always been fun and exciting because they have the potential to be something great. However, that is not always the case, but that does not stop fans, organizations, or the media from hopping on them. These three had value as either trade chips or as long-term upside plays. However, if the Mariners are really in a tight budget situation and are going to cut payroll, who are the most important players to have? Cheaper ones.
These three are going to make the Major League minimum for their first three full years in the big leagues whenever they get there. In two years the Mariners need to be extending Cal Raleigh, Logan Gilbert, George Kirby, and hopefully signing some free agents. Having three young, talented, and cost-controlled players on their roster would be immensely valuable for this team in two years. These three need to stick around.