The Mariners decided not to extend Teoscar Hernandez a qualifying offer by the MLB's deadline. Which means Seattle is likely not going to re-sign Teoscar this off-season and will need to look for other options this winter. Given the Mariners do not have a proven everyday replacement on their current 40-Man roster, expect the Mariners front office to be on the hunt for a new outfielder. Here are three outfielders to watch for this winter:
Mariners OF Option #1: Alex Verdugo
Given the depth in the Red Sox outfield, Boston has been interested in shopping outfielder Alex Verdugo. Trading Verdugo this off-season would make sense given his contract is up at the end of 2024. A left-handed hitter, Verdugo is known as a solid contact hitter batting .264, a .745 OPS, 13 HR, 54 RBI, and just 93 SO in 142 games during the 2023 season. Verdugo also led American League right fielders with 12 assists, displaying his incredible arm talent. Could the Mariners pursue a trade with Boston to acquire Alex Verdugo?
Mariners OF Option #2: Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
Though he will be highly sought after throughout free agency, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is an obvious fit for a Mariners offense that needs to cut down on strikeouts. Gurriel is coming off a strong 2023 where he hit .261, with a .772 OPS, 24 HR, 82 RBI, and had only 103 SO in 145 games. The only knock on Gurriel is he had a career-low .309 OBP in 2023. However, without him, the Diamondbacks likely would not have made the World Series. Gurriel hit .273, with three home runs, and had 10 RBI in the postseason, including a crucial homer in Game 6 of the NLCS to help force a Game 7. Gurriel is an intriguing outfield FA option for the Mariners this winter.
Mariners OF Option #3: Juan Soto
This would be a dream acquisition for the Mariners this winter, given that Soto is a generational talent with a career .284 batting average, .946 OPS., averaging 33 HR and 100 RBI a season. Adding him to the Mariners lineup would instantly give solid protection to Julio Rodriguez in the Mariners lineup. Though the price tag will likely be incredibly high for a trade to acquire him, the Mariners have to at least consider this move. The only risk of making such a move is that Juan Soto is in the final year of his contract, and giving up the farm for a one-year rental could set the franchise back for future years. However, trading for him would mean the Mariners are finally serious about making a World Series run.