The Seattle Mariners have a bit of a designated hitter problem. In 2023, over 10 different players cycled through the position. Halfway through the season, Mike Ford was called up from the Mariners' Triple-A team and did a decent job there (hitting career-high 16 home runs and 34 RBI), but he was DFA'd in November, leaving Seattle back where they started.
However, the Mariners, who have been quiet so far this offseason apart from sending Jarred Kelenic to Atlanta during Winter Meetings, might be interested in finding a potential solution in Cleveland. Seattle, along with the Cubs and Pirates, was named as an interested party in a potential trade for Guardians first baseman/DH Josh Naylor. Ty France pretty much has first base locked up for the Mariners, but Naylor, who had a .489 SLG last year, could be the perfect answer to Seattle's DH woes.
Mariners Rumors: Seattle shifting focus to Guardians slugger on trade market
Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, who reported that the Mariners, Cubs, and Pirates originally took interest in Naylor at Winter Meetings, said that the Guardians are in "listening mode" on trade proposals for Naylor, similar to Shane Bieber and Emmanuel Clase, whose names have been floating around the trade market for a few weeks now. He noted that the Guardians, as an "offensively challenged club," trading away Naylor would be a significant loss depending on what Cleveland would get in return.
Naylor had his best offensive year in 2023 by a considerable measure. He hit .308/.354/.489 with an .842 OPS, 17 home runs, and 97 RBI, which was enough to earn him MVP votes. On top of that, he's still 26, so he still may not have reached his ceiling. Also, anyone who's willing to call Gerrit Cole his baby and prance around the bases after hitting a home run off of him should be seriously considered as a legend in some capacities.
At the moment, FanGraphs' Mariners depth chart lists Taylor Trammell as Seattle's DH next year. Trammell spent in eight games in the big leagues as DH (out of 22 total), but hit pretty a miserable .130/.286/.326 and was sent up and down from the minors multiple times. Naylor is still young but has five years of big league experience, and he seemingly gets a little better with every year. If this is a trade that the Mariners seriously want to pursue, getting it done could answer a lot of lineup questions ahead of next season.