I know that not everyone is a big fan of Bob Nightengale, but he still does have an insider ear to the rumors going on in baseball, so it's worth taking a listen when anyone in a role like that breaks news in the baseball world. Well, maybe not Jon Heyman, but that's a different story. Nightengale had an interesting quote, and it's worth thinking about for the Mariners.
"Free agent starter Blake Snell would love to sign with his hometown team, the Seattle Mariners, but they don’t have a need for starting pitching. The Philadelphia Phillies are the favorite to sign him while letting Aaron Nola walk away. "- Bob Nightengale, USA Today, 11/12/2023
I don't care about the Phillies part of the quote. The first half is the one that we need to take notice of. That's now two Cy Young winners who have preferred to sign with the Mariners in Free Agency over the last couple of seasons. The first was Robbie Ray, who reportedly called up the Mariners and asked to sign with them.
Snell would be the second, and it makes sense that he would want to play in Seattle. It's where he grew up, so it would be a nice homecoming for the eight-year vet. He's entering his age-31 season, so it might not be a contract that puts him through the end of his career, but it could be close. It's not even just us here at Sodo Mojo that want Snell on the team, the fans want him here too.
Now, we get to the crux of the matter. Yes, the Mariners have a lot of starting pitchers, and you could argue that it's one of the best and deepest rotations in baseball. Here's the thing, you cannot let an opportunity like this pass you by, especially when it's fairly well known that hitters don't really want to come to Seattle.
You know what happens if you sign Snell? You have a surplus now. Castillo, Snell, Kirby, Gilbert as your top 4. Then, you still have Woo/Miller, Marco and Hancock hopefully healthy for Spring Training, and then Robbie Ray at the All-Star Break. That's a good amount of backup and options for what to do with your rotation.
Instead of signing a hitter in Free Agency (TBH, they need to sign one still and this can be in lieu of signing a second one), they could trade away from their starting pitching depth to get a hitter. Whether it's with the Mets or maybe with the Cardinals or even the Orioles, or someone else entirely, it would be a good way to get a hitter that you want without having to worry about competing FA offers.
I have no idea if it's going to happen, but taking advantage of the fact that one of the top Free Agents wants to come to Seattle isn't something that the team can let pass by without leaping at to improve their team. The opportunity is there, Seattle, so grab the proverbial bull by the horns and continue improving this team. As we saw over the last two seasons, a World Series berth is right there... they just need to capitalize when the opportunity presents itself.