Baseball is back, and I could not be more excited! Of course, we’ve got new league rules like the pitch clock, bigger bases, and bans on the shift, but let’s review the upcoming season for the Seattle Mariners. The Seattle squad had a nice run last year, making it to the playoffs for the first time in over two decades, but they ran into the buzzsaw known as the Houston Astros and got swept out of the ALDS like it was the last call at the bar.
But the M’s are looking to build on that momentum in 2023, and they’ve been busy making moves to bolster their roster.
They picked up a trio of pitchers off waivers from the Royals (Luke Weaver and Gabe Speier) and Red Sox (Easton McGee) and swung some trades to bring in outfielder Teoscar Hernandez and catcher/outfielder Cooper Hummel. The Mariners also traded for the defensive-minded second basemen in Kolten Wong. They also added some veteran leadership with signings like A.J. Pollock and Tommy La Stella.
So, what can we expect from the Mariners this season? They have some potential, primarily if their young guns perform to their full potential. The projections have them in the mid-80s for wins, but if things go right and they make some intelligent moves down the stretch, they could hit the 90-win mark. Let’s look at their projected opening-day lineup:
Julio Rodriguez CF
Ty France 1B
Eugenio Suarez 3B
Teoscar Hernandez RF
Cal Raleigh C
Kolten Wong 2B
AJ Pollock LF
Jarred Kelenic DH
J.P. Crawford SS
One thing to watch is the outfield situation. Center fielder Julio Rodriguez is a stud and should put up some big numbers, but there are question marks in left field. A.J. Pollock is a decent addition, but he’s not exactly lighting it up lately. And then there’s Jarred Kelenic, who needs to improve after a brutal 2022 campaign. If he can step up his game and solidify left field, that would be huge for the Mariners.
Another thing to remember is the team’s need for a dedicated DH. Without a big-time left-handed hitter to plug in there, the Mariners could be scrambling to fill that spot on the roster. It’s a weakness to keep an eye on.
On to pitching: Let’s start with the starting rotation, which is stacked. We’re talking about:
Luis Castillo, Robbie Ray, George Kirby, Logan Gilbert, and Marco Gonzales. That’s a group of arms that could make any opposing lineup shake in their cleats. And the best part? They’re all coming back for another season. Seattle made a big splash at the trade deadline last year to get Castillo, and now they’re reaping the rewards. This rotation has the potential to be the best in the AL West. But let’s remember the bullpen, which is more impressive. Paul Sewald, Andrés Muñoz, Diego Castillo, Matt Brash, Trevor Gott, Chris Flexen, Penn Murfee, Chris Clarke, and Casey Sadler. That’s a lot of arms to choose from, and most of them are returning from last year’s squad, which was the backbone of this roster. But there are some new additions, including Gott, who signed a big league contract, and Clarke, a Rule 5 Draft pick. These guys are hungry and ready to contribute. And let’s not forget about Sadler, who was stellar for Seattle in 2021 but got sidelined last season. He’s on a minor league deal now but will have every opportunity to make the team out of camp.
Overall, the Mariners look like a solid squad that could make some noise this season. Thanks to the Astros, they might not be favorites to win their division, but they will be in the mix for a playoff spot. The team would benefit from breakout seasons by Dylan Moore and Jarred Kelenic, but otherwise, the team is stacked and loaded for a deep playoff run. Watch out, AL. The Mariners are coming.