After about a month and a half of the offseason, the Mariners have made a few moves to make their team better for the 2023 season. Although the team is most likely not finished adding, Seattle has most of its 2023 roster already built. After a few trades and under the radar free agent signings, here’s how the Mariners may look once March rolls around.
With the acquisitions of Teoscar Hernández and Kolten Wong, the Mariners have filled two big holes in their lineup. Production from right field and second base were a concern going into the offseason, and both of their positions have been filled by above average bats. Wong is fantastic against right handed pitching, while counterpart Dylan Moore is quite good against lefties. Fans could expect a platoon at the second base position, with Wong taking most of the reps at second. Hernandez will be the starting right fielder, and will most likely DH when needed if they indeed add another outfielder before the season starts. With the trade of OF Jesse Winker, the Mariners still have a question in left field. Jarred Kelenic is an obvious candidate, but that will solely depend on the belief the Mariners front office has in his ability to produce consistently at the plate. In almost a full season’s worth of at-bats, Kelenic has been near the bottom of the league in average and wRC+. Although he’s still just 22, the window to contend for the Mariners is now, and they will need solid production from that part in the lineup if they are going to make it over the hump. Players on the trade market such as Bryan Reynolds have been brought up as a possible solution, however, he would require much prospect capital in order to obtain him. Free agent Michael Conforto is also an option to look out for. He’s a Washington native looking for a team to take a chance on him after taking all of 2022 off from baseball. Regardless, left field is really the only gaping hole for the Mariners at the moment. Cal Raleigh, Julio Rodriguez, JP Crawford and Ty France have all solidified themselves as core pieces of the team. Eugenio Suarez had a fantastic bounce back season for the Mariners last year and could have similar numbers next year.
In terms of the pitching, the only big loss has been reliever Erik Swanson. Swanson was traded along with a minor league pitcher in order to acquire Teoscar Hernández, so in a sense it was a great reliever in exchange for offensive production. However, with how many great relievers the Mariners were able to have this year, the ability to replace Swanson’s production should not be too difficult. A minor free agent signing that could benefit the Mariners greatly is bringing back RHP Casey Sadler. Sadler missed all of 2022 recovering from a shoulder injury, but he was one of the best relievers in baseball in 2021. Sadler could be a perfect replacement for Swanson, and if he can produce at least somewhat similar numbers, the Mariners bullpen will remain dominant. The rotation I believe is one of the best in baseball, with former Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray leading the charge. With Luis Castillo’s dominant playoff performances, he’ll slide into the #2 spot. Logan Gilbert and George Kirby have the opportunity to be very special next year, as both showed last year they can be both dominant starters. The fifth rotation spot is in question, with the options of Chris Flexen or Marco Gonzalez filling that role. Despite who takes that position, the rotation in general is in a great spot and should be one of their strengths going into next season.