What does the Mariners roster still need as we head to 2024?
Seattle's roster is far from complete as we head into the new year, so what's next for the Mariners? Let's take a look.
Subtraction was the motive in the first two months of the offseason, but with 2024 approaching the focus is changing. After dumping Eugenio Suarez and Jarred Kelenic for salary purposes the lineup felt awfully hollow until a holiday addition by the front office.
On Christmas Eve, the front office made its first significant addition, signing designated hitter Mitch Garver to a two-year 24 million dollar deal. The deal gives Seattle a bat that can hit in the middle of the order but only satisfies one of their three stated needs.
Jerry Dipoto has indicated their needs including a middle-of-the-order type bat, and 1.5 outfielders that can play different roles for Seattle.
The Garver signing added a very good hitter that can slot somewhere between the 3-5 slots in the lineup. Ideally, the 33-year-old would hit behind righty slayer Cal Raleigh, creating a matchup nightmare for the opposing pitching staff.
Garver is going to be the Mariners’ primary designated hitter, which does limit what they can do with the roster. Jorge Soler and Rhys Hoskins (unless they deal Ty France) are almost certainly out of the question.
Seattle needs to add at least two more players, preferably three to this roster. Each player must be able to defend, otherwise their role gets murky.
The first and easiest to identify and obtain is a right-handed outfield solution to help protect Dominic Canzone. We have no evidence besides his limited big-league performance that suggests he cannot handle lefties, but a lefty-killing outfielder is a must.
Adams Duvall, Michael A. Taylor, and Robbie Grossman all fit this role very well. Duvall and Taylor can both handle centerfield as well as handling left-handed pitching. Harold Ramirez is a questionable defender at both first base and the outfield, but could also handle this role.
The other player the Mariners need to acquire must be of the everyday variety. I would love to see them grab another corner outfielder, but I have been told they liked Isaac Paredes early in the offseason presumably for his positional flexibility and cheaper contract.
Adding Paredes or someone like Jorge Polanco leads me to believe this team would need to acquire multiple outfielders to go with him. The dream here is an everyday outfielder that can hit either third or fourth in the lineup.
Randy Arozarena is a name I have mentioned several times already. Max Kepler and Mike Yasztremski make a ton of sense as left-handed options.
Baltimore has players like Austin Hays, Cedric Mullins, and Anthony Santander who all make varying degrees of sense for Seattle to add. Bryan Reynolds, Leodys Taveras, and Dylan Carlson would fit on this roster as well.
The Mariners could also choose to go a different route and acquire a much younger, cheaper player that is pre-arbitration. Seattle’s budget restrictions make it a difficult needle to thread.
Colton Cowser, Jordan Westburg, and Josh Lowe are examples of players who fit this bill.
Ownership’s lack of desire to spend has thrown a wrench into the plans, making an already difficult task feel all the more impossible. However, there are still a few avenues to a World Series winning ball club. They will need to be creative to make it happen, but there’s a lot of off-season left to work with.
Happy New Year and GOMS.
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