The Mariners recently added Luis Urias to their infield mix, giving what many thought, was another utility infielder. With the loss of Geno, though, Urias slots in as the everyday third baseman as things stand, something that I don't foresee being the case come opening day. I expect Dipoto to be active and fill that need somewhere, whether it be via trade or free agency. Today, I want to look at another utility infielder, but one that is coming off a very solid year for the Twins and can help raise the floor of the Mariners.
I touched on Donovan Solano previously; I even called him my favorite free agent the Mariners should target. It sounds a little dramatic, but I don't mean it as Solano could be the most impactful bat they could add, I just really like his profile. I am going to double down on this statement and think he fits the mold even more right now, with the possibility of moving Dylan Moore in a trade. Remember Dipoto's comments about cutting back on the strikeouts and getting more contact in the lineup, well they have moved on from Teoscar Hernandez, Geno Suarez, and Mike Ford, all guys who ran a K rate over 30% in 2023.
Solano played in 134 games in 2023 and had a slash line of .282/.369/.391 with a 116 wRC+. He played every spot in the infield except for shortstop and is just a good hitter. A career .280 hitter, with an 18.7% K rate will surely give you more contact and fewer strikeouts. He also slashed .333/.491/.481 with a 179 wRC+, a 17.6% walk rate, and a 23.1% K rate with runners in scoring position, something that Mariners fans would love after seeing strikeout after strikeout with runners in scoring position.
I would love the addition of Solano as a sort of replacement for Dylan Moore. Sure, Moore can play the outfield and some shortstop, but that can only carry so much value. Moore ran a K rate of 33.9% in 2023, which is just downright bad. He also has a career batting average of .208, and a wRC+ of 100, proving he is at best, average.
Adding a guy like Solano will give you more certainty and a heck of a lot fewer strikeouts. Caballero can play shortstop and you should add enough depth this offseason that Moore playing the outfield doesn't matter. Dylan Moore is under contract for the 2024 and 2025 seasons for a total of just over $6.5 million dollars. I think you could get a guy like Donovan Solano on a deal like that, a 1-year deal worth $4 or $5 million or maybe a 2-year deal worth $7 or $8 million. It's not a costly upgrade, and in my opinion, it would be a big improvement of the Mariners overall floor.