As the Mariners approach a third consecutive 90-win season, I can’t help but think about the gap between them and the Houston Astros. Granted, the hometown nine have shortened that gap this year, as evidenced by their 8-2 head-to-head record. However, there are still some moves President of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto and General Manager Justin Hollander can make to take the next step next season.
The 2024 Major League Baseball free-agent class is weak. Yes, Shohei Ohtani is the great white whale seemingly every team will at least check in on, even with a second Tommy John surgery looming. A rejuvenated Cody Bellinger is probably the second-best player in the class, and then there is a considerable gap. The next tier includes perennial Gold-Glover Matt Chapman, National League Cy Young front-runner Blake Snell, and superstar closer Josh Hader. What does this mean for Dipoto and Hollander?
Well, they’ll probably have to trade from a surplus of pitching for proven MLB talent or dip their toes into international waters. I guess there will likely be a combination approach. Still, this article will focus on a few intriguing players in the Nippon Baseball League and Korean Baseball League who could significantly impact the 2024 Mariners.