Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto has already been busy this off-season: Trading third baseman Eugenio Suarez to the D-Backs for catcher Seby Zevala and reliever Carlos Vargas, not giving Teoscar Hernandez a qualifying offer, and sending reliever Isaiah Campbell to the Red Sox for Luis Urias. Now he needs to look for ways to upgrade the Mariners roster either via trade or in free agency. Here are five other moves he should consider this winter:
Signing SP Blake Snell
Blake Snell won the 2023 NL Cy Young Award and is now a free agent after a phenomenal season where he posted a 2.25 ERA and struck out 234 batters. Snell has said he is willing to sign with the Mariners and wants Seattle's front office to "come get him". While the Mariners already have a talented young pitching staff, the acquisition of Snell would not only make the Mariners rotation even better, but also would allow them to trade one or two of their young starting pitchers to acquire a couple of big bats. Snell is a native of the Seattle area having played baseball at Shorewood High School. Bringing him home would be great for Snell, the Mariners, and baseball fans in Seattle.
Trading for OF Juan Soto
While a move of this magnitude would require a big package to land him (including one of the Mariners young arms), Soto would do wonders for the Mariners lineup. The Mariners need to replace the production of Teoscar Hernandez and Eugenio Suarez after letting them go this off-season. While Geno and Teo struck out far too much in 2023, they were second and third on the team in RBI last season. Combining for 189 of the Mariners RBI in 2023. Acquiring Soto would be a big move which would help fill the void in the Mariners lineup left after the departures of Teo and Geno. Soto had 106 RBI in 2023, to go with a .275 batting average, .930 OPS, and 35 HR.
Trading for INF/OF Brendan Donovan
Brendan Donovan is a lesser known trade target this off-season, but given the free agent market has few third baseman, Donovan would be a nice addition to the Mariners lineup. Not only can Donovan play third base, he also can play second base, and corner outfield positions. Even though the Mariners acquired infielder Luis Urias who can play third base, Donovan is a more reliable bat. Donovan is known for his ability as a contact hitter who can consistently put the ball in play, and get on base. In his first two MLB seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, Donovan hit .283, with a .381 OBP, and .787 OPS. Given the surplus of infielders and outfielders on the Cardinals roster, do not be surprised if Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto calls up the Cardinals about Brendan Donovan.
Signing DH JD Martinez
JD Martinez would help replace the offensive production the Mariners lost the off-season and would give them a proven DH. Since the Mariners let Nelson Cruz leave in free agency following the 2018 season, the M's have struggled to find production at designated hitter. Martinez had 103 RBI in 2023, along with a .271 batting average, .893 OPS, and 33 HR on a one-year deal with the LA Dodgers. Martinez would provide the Mariners both with solid offensive production and a good veteran presence among the M's young hitters.
Signing Jeimer Candelario
MLB Network's Jon Morosi has said now that the Mariners have traded away starting third baseman Eugenio Suarez, they could look to sign free agent third baseman Jeimer Candelario. In 2023, Candelario hit .251, with a .807 OPS., 70 RBI, and 22 HR. Candelario had significantly fewer strikeouts than Geno did in 2023, as he struck out 127 times compared to Geno's 214. If the Mariners are unsatisfied with Luis Urias at third base, and cannot find a trade partner, Candelario could be an option.