The Mariners have been more focused on the trade market than free agency this winter, adding Kolten Wong from the Brewers and Teoscar Hernandez from the Blue Jays, and while there’s additions still to be made, Corey Brock of The Athletic reports that it’s unlikely they’ll add significant piece through free agency. With that being said, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times relays that Jerry Dipoto would ideally like to add one or two bats, including a right-handed corner outfielder, or a corner infielder.
“We’d like to find one more bat … maybe two,” Dipoto said. “We’re open to doing it, but we’re also perfectly happy to go with what we have.”
Starting with the outfield, Hernandez and Julio Rodriguez will occupy two of the spots, but a change in left could be possible. Mitch Haniger recently signed with the Giants on a three-year, $43.5MM deal, while Jesse Winker was dealt to the Brewers. They’ve currently got former top prospect Jarred Kelenic penciled in to handle left, but he’s struggled to hit big league pitching. Taylor Trammell is another young option, but he too has struggled to hit in the big leagues. Both Kelenic and Trammell are left handers. It’s possible the Mariners could look to trade one or both of those two names to acquire a corner outfielder, and both are certainly still young enough that teams will have interest in trying to extract their upside.
There’s a few directions the Mariners could go in the the corner spot and it’s hard to know where to draw the line at what constitutes a “significant piece” when it comes to free agency. Aaron Judge is obviously the best outfielder available, with the next best right-handed option probably being Trey Mancini. Other options could include a shorter-term, veteran such as Andrew McCutchen or AJ Pollock. Alternatively, the team could turn to the trade market. Bryan Reynolds handed in a trade request over the weekend, and while he’s a switch-hitter and not a pure right-hander, he grades out well in left and the Mariners have had previous interest in the Pirate.
The infield appears less urgent for Dipoto and co. Eugenio Suarez and Ty France are currently slotted into the two corner spots, but that’s not to say there’s not a move to be made there. Utility infielder Abraham Toro was part of the Wong trade, and he spent a fair bit of time at third in 2022 so the Mariners could look for a similar type of player to come in and fill that role off the bench. They’ve also opened up the DH spot a bit by trading Winker, and so they could look to rotate Suarez and France in and out of that spot a bit more in 2023 to keep everyone fresh.
One such utility player on the roster currently is Dylan Moore, and Dipoto confirmed he’d undergo surgery for a core injury that Moore’s had since the end of the season. The procedure would take place in the coming days, and comes with a 6-8 week window of recovery, so providing there’s no setbacks Moore should be good to go for spring training. The 30-year-old hit .224/.368/.385 across 255 plate appearances in 2022 while logging time at every position apart from pitcher and catcher, although he spent the bulk of his time in right field and shortstop.