Dipoto: Mariners to Pursue Shortstops Willing to Play Second Base

There is quite a few reason for optimism in Seattle. The Mariners completed with a 90-72 document, their highest since 2003. They delivered one of the vital highest comeback wins in postseason historical past on their means to knocking off the Blue Jays within the wild card sequence. Down the stretch, the membership locked up budding presumptive AL Rookie of the Year Julio Rodriguez thru 2034 and prolonged two-time All Star beginning pitcher Luis Castillo thru 2028.

Now, at the heels of an exciting season, Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto has indicated that he’s open to making huge strikes so as to make stronger what’s already a playoff-caliber group.

At the M’s end-of-season media consultation on Wednesday, Dipoto stated that his “great preference” this offseason “would be to land a shortstop that would like to play second base” (relayed by way of Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times). Dipoto is most likely referring to any of the 4 “big name shortstops” who mission to be loose brokers this offseason: Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa, Dansby Swanson, and Trea Turner. Each of those 4 would in an instant make stronger Seattle’s offense, which ranked within the backside part of all of baseball. All 4 of the massive call shortstops would require multi-year pacts with vital annuals.

The Mariners mission to have the payroll capability to splurge on a top-of-the-market shortstop, must they make a choice to. In 2022, Seattle ranked twenty second in MLB with an Opening Day participant payroll simply shy of $104MM, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts. 2022’s determine is considerably not up to one of the crucial Mariners’ fresh seasons, right through which Seattle was once most often much less aggressive. From 2016 to 2019, the Mariners averaged overall payrolls of more or less $150MM, score as prime as eleventh league-wide.

The M’s these days have round $91MM price of payroll commitments for 2023, according to Roster Resource. Though that quantity will build up on account of arbitration, it kind of feels most likely that Seattle would have the fiscal capability to signal one of the vital huge 4 shortstops, even supposing they try to deliver again Mitch Haniger, who shall be a loose agent this offseason as neatly.

The main caveat in Seattle’s pursuit of a big-name loose agent shortstop shall be whether or not or no longer any of them will settle for a transfer to 2d base. Dipoto reaffirmed his dedication to J.P. Crawford because the Mariners’ shortstop. He advised the media that Crawford, age 27, will “line up for us Opening Day at shortstop and the goal is to find someone to put around him.” Dipoto endured on to state evidently that the Mariners signed Crawford to be a shortstop and that “that’s what we intend to do.”

One may argue the cleanest have compatibility of the 4 aforementioned shortstops could be Turner, who’s the one one of the vital 4 to seem in Major League video games as a 2d baseman. Turner was once a full-time 2d baseman as just lately as the second one part of 2021, when he transitioned to the fitting aspect of the diamond in order that the Dodgers may accommodate each Corey Seager and Turner after Los Angeles bought him from the Nationals.

None of Correa, Bogaerts or Swanson has performed at the proper aspect of the infield of their careers, even supposing all of them have prolonged revel in on the infield’s maximum tough place. Trevor Story had additionally by no means up to now performed the keystone, however he agreed to transfer over in deference to Bogaerts upon signing with the Red Sox ultimate offseason. Whether any of the massive 4 shortstops this time would achieve this whilst letting Crawford stay shortstop isn’t at the moment identified, however Dipoto and his team of workers appear most likely to inquire with everybody in that staff.

Haniger, in the meantime, will hit loose company after spending the previous 5 seasons in Seattle. M’s normal manger Justin Hollander was once effusive in his reward for the 31-year-old outfielder and stated the group will stay in touch along with his representatives at Apex Baseball (by way of Divish). At the similar time, he famous that Haniger “wants to gauge what else is out there” at the open marketplace right through his first shuttle to loose company.

It’s no longer the most productive platform season for Haniger, who overlooked a pair months with a prime ankle sprain. He in the long run seemed 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 be offering, however the relative down platform yr and the M’s stockpile of controllable outfielders make it appear most likely they’ll permit him to hit loose company unencumbered by way of a QO.

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