Dipoto: Mariners to Pursue Shortstops Willing to Play Second Base
There may be loads of trigger for optimism in Seattle. The Mariners completed with a 90-72 report, their finest since 2003. They delivered probably the greatest comeback wins in postseason historical past on their approach to knocking off the Blue Jays within the wild card collection. Down the stretch, the membership locked up budding presumptive AL Rookie of the Yr Julio Rodriguez by way of 2034 and prolonged two-time All Star beginning pitcher Luis Castillo by way of 2028.
Now, on the heels of an exhilarating season, Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto has indicated that he’s open to creating large strikes with the intention to enhance what’s already a playoff-caliber workforce.
On the M’s end-of-season media session on Wednesday, Dipoto mentioned that his “nice desire” this offseason “could be to land a shortstop that want to play second base” (relayed by Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times). Dipoto is probably going referring to any of the 4 “large identify shortstops” who challenge to be free brokers this offseason: Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa, Dansby Swanson, and Trea Turner. Every of those 4 would immediately enhance Seattle’s offense, which ranked within the backside half of all of baseball. All 4 of the massive identify shortstops would require multi-year pacts with vital annuals.
The Mariners challenge to have the payroll capability to splurge on a top-of-the-market shortstop, ought to they select to. In 2022, Seattle ranked twenty second in MLB with an Opening Day participant payroll simply shy of $104MM, per Cot’s Baseball Contracts. 2022’s determine is considerably decrease than a few of the Mariners’ latest seasons, throughout which Seattle was usually much less aggressive. From 2016 to 2019, the Mariners averaged whole payrolls of roughly $150MM, rating as excessive as eleventh league-wide.
The M’s at the moment have round $91MM value of payroll commitments for 2023, per Roster Useful resource. Although that quantity will enhance on account of arbitration, it appears possible that Seattle would have the fiscal capability to signal one of many large 4 shortstops, even when they try to convey again Mitch Haniger, who might be a free agent this offseason as effectively.
The foremost caveat in Seattle’s pursuit of a big-name free agent shortstop might be whether or not or not any of them will settle for a transfer to second base. Dipoto reaffirmed his dedication to J.P. Crawford because the Mariners’ shortstop. He instructed the media that Crawford, age 27, will “line up for us Opening Day at shortstop and the purpose is to seek out somebody to place round him.” Dipoto continued on to state plainly that the Mariners signed Crawford to be a shortstop and that “that’s what we intend to do.”
One may argue the cleanest match of the 4 aforementioned shortstops could be Turner, who’s the one one of many 4 to look in Main League video games as a second baseman. Turner was a full-time second baseman as just lately because the second half of 2021, when he transitioned to the appropriate aspect of the diamond in order that the Dodgers may accommodate each Corey Seager and Turner after Los Angeles acquired him from the Nationals.
None of Correa, Bogaerts or Swanson has performed on the appropriate aspect of the infield of their careers, though all of them have prolonged expertise on the infield’s most demanding place. Trevor Story had additionally by no means beforehand performed the keystone, however he agreed to maneuver over in deference to Bogaerts upon signing with the Crimson Sox final offseason. Whether or not any of the massive 4 shortstops this time would accomplish that whereas letting Crawford preserve shortstop isn’t presently identified, however Dipoto and his employees appear prone to inquire with everybody in that group.
Haniger, in the meantime, will hit free company after spending the previous 5 seasons in Seattle. M’s normal manger Justin Hollander was effusive in his reward for the 31-year-old outfielder and mentioned the group will stay in touch together with his representatives at Apex Baseball (via Divish). On the similar time, he famous that Haniger “needs to gauge what else is on the market” on the open market throughout his first journey to free company.
It’s not the perfect platform season for Haniger, who missed a pair months with a excessive ankle sprain. He in the end appeared in 57 video games and hit .246/.308/.429 with 11 homers over 247 plate appearances. That’s above-average offense however a step again from his 39-homer, .253/.318/.485 marketing campaign in 2021. Haniger is eligible for a $19.65MM qualifying provide, however the relative down platform 12 months and the M’s stockpile of controllable outfielders make it appear possible they’ll enable him to hit free company unencumbered by a QO.