I was perusing MLB.com’s list of the top 25 free agents for this upcoming offseason, and trying to find fits for the Mariners.
They could use many of these players, but what fills an open position on the roster, and what fits with their philosophy of a younger team that can contend continuously.
Another thing to consider is possible qualifying offers. For example, a player like Corey Seager could cost not only money but a hefty draft pick while Kris Bryant would not.
Here’s what I see as possibilities for the upcoming offseason.
Marcus Semien (2B for Seattle): An unbelievable year for Semien in which he will likely get some MVP votes and wind up as a top-5 finisher for the award. The M’s will likely have to pay handsomely for Semien, and it is all but guaranteed that he will not match, much less approach his 2021 numbers, but he would fit in at 2B immediately and provide some much needed offensive help to a thin lineup. A deal with Semien will likely look bad on the back end, much like Robinson Cano’s but ultimately this would be a massive upgrade and either move Abraham Toro to 3rd, where he’s more comfortable, or to a utility type where he might be most valuable.
Michael Conforto (CF): Now, with Conforto, you would run into the same problem as with Jarred Kelenic, playing out of position, but he might be willing to take a prove-it contract and he’s also a Northwest kid who grew up near Seattle. I’m not saying he’d take a hometown discount, but the overpay to get him to play here might not be as extreme. Your defense at a premium position does not get better with Conforto, but hopefully he would re-find some of his offensive prowess to even things out and lengthen the M’s lineup. Plus, he’ll be a lot cheaper than Starling Marte while also being younger.
Marcus Stroman (P): There are a lot sexier pitchers on the market, but it’s tough to see a Max Scherzer or Justin Verlander coming to Seattle for anything less than a vast overpay, and I just don’t want to necessarily take the chance on Carlos Rodon or Noah Syndergaard. Stroman will match the Seattle philosophy or “Own the Zone!” He’s not much of a walker, and will need his defense to play well behind him, but Seattle can make that work, though likely not at all positions. He has also been mostly durable outside of the 2018 season, so there isn’t quite the injury risk there. He wouldn’t come in to be the ace, and even if James Paxton re-signs, he won’t be ready Opening Day. Stroman is a good fit.
Those are three I’d like see signed. It doesn’t feel like it would break the bank, and maybe with a good trade or two to complement these moves, it would make the team a serious playoff contender.