Offseason Report Card and Prediction: Left Field
The Mariners have a left field problem. Does Jesse Winker return or could a big name acquisition fill the role?
Left field has been a troubling spot for the Seattle Mariners organization for many years, cycling through many mediocre players. Looking for stability and thump at the position, should the Mariners look for a significant upgrade this offseason? Let’s take a look.
Before last season the Mariners thought they had finally solved the left field conundrum, acquiring All Star left fielder Jesse Winker in a blockbuster trade before spring training. The team also likely believed in Jarred Kelenic, Taylor Trammell, or Kyle Lewis being able to contribute at some level.
Instead, the Mariners got inconsistent health from Trammell, and Lewis, while also getting struggles at the plate from Jarred Kelenic. This left Jesse Winker to play left field in 118 games. Sam Haggerty and Dylan Moore also appeared in 33 and 18 games respectively.
Winker was somewhat of a disaster in 2022, especially defensively. He was worth -16 defensive runs saved according to FanGraphs. He also struggled at the plate, slashing just .219/.344/.344 for the season. I don’t need to go over Winker too in-depth, you can read about his season and the drama surrounding it here.
He was involved in one of the most memorable moments of the season, the brawl in Anaheim.
Going into the offseason the Mariners need to upgrade in the middle infield as well as a corner outfield spot. They badly need to add one or two upgrades to the outfield, whether they push Julio Rodríguez to a corner or add a corner outfielder.
There are a ton of options, especially with how creative Jerry Dipoto has shown he is. Ultimately the Mariners need to bring back either Mitch Haniger or Jesse Winker while adding one or two more players. Jarred Kelenic showed some flashes but shouldn’t be given a roster spot until he proves otherwise.
Brandon Nimmo is the best of the free agent outfielder options and would be a great addition for Seattle. His ability to get on base combined with an ability to play average centerfield defense, and above average defense at a corner spot makes him a coveted option.