It is no secret that the Mariners offense struggled in 2023. They were just too inconsistent to stay competitive for 162 games. Sure, they were 1 win away from the post-season, but how did their lineup stack up against the Texas Rangers or the Houston Astros? They would rank easily 3rd, and I am not convinced the Mariners make the same run the Rangers did to win the World Series.
Do I expect this lineup to be the exact same lineup the Mariners trot out on Opening Day? No. But this is a lineup that I believe Mariners fans could get excited about. No, the Mariners are not going to get Aaron Judge in a trade, or sign every top free agent available. But this lineup would be a much more consistent one compared to 2023.
1. J.P. Crawford, Shortstop (L)
Yes, I am sticking with the Captain leading off. Crawford put together his best season to date, and he deserves to lead off for this team going forward. J.P. hit .266/.380/.438/.818 with an OPS+ of 131. He led the American League in walks with 94, He struck out just 19.6% and walked at 14.7%. He also more than doubled his previous career high in Home Runs, clubbing 19 in 2023. Crawford had a very underrated season, and he will look to continue that into 2024.
2. Julio Rodriguez, Centerfield (R)
No Dream scenario lineup would be complete without J-Rod, the face of the franchise. Julio had a great season, hitting 32 Home Runs and driving in 103. His slash line was .275/.333/.485/.818 with an OPS+ of 128. He did strike out 175 times in 2023 (24.5%), which was a bit of a problem for Julio. Not just Julio, though, as I have mentioned before, Teoscar Hernandez, Eugenio Suarez, and Julio all combined for 600 strikeouts which is insane. That is like your 9 hitter striking out every single at-bat for an entire season.
Julio would see much better pitches to hit because of the new 3-hole hitter hitting behind him. I think he takes a huge step forward in 2024, and could be a MVP canidate by season's end. Talent is never a question with Julio, and if 2023 was his "floor", imagine what his ceiling could be. And in a lineup like this, the sky is the limit.