The goal for the Seattle Mariners in 2023 is pretty simple.
While the M’s are coming off back-to-back 90-win seasons, they finished the 2022 regular season with a 16-game tie with the 106-win Astros in the American League West, then were swept by eventual World Series champions Houston. games in the ALDS. So if the Mariners have any World Series hopes of their own in 2023, they need to find a way past the Astros.
Knowing that led to high expectations for Seattle’s offseason, and it seems like a segment of the fan base feels the M’s have fallen short thus far. However, the M’s have made some improvements with trades for All-Star slugger Teoscar Hernandez and two-time Gold Glove second baseman Kolten Wong. However, the rest of Seattle’s additions have drawn more attention, particularly a one-year deal for reliever Trevor Gott and a trade for catcher/outfielder Cooper Hummel in a one-for-one swap with Kyle Lewis.
ESPN’s Passan. M’s offseason expectations ‘might be a little weird’
Meanwhile, the Astros lost 2022 AL Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander (he signed with the New York Mets) and replaced first baseman Yuli Gurriel with 2020 AL MVP Jose Abreu, who turns 36 in January. Some of Houston’s other veterans, including utility player Aledmys Diaz and catcher Christian Vazquez, also left in free agency.
With that in mind, and with Hernandez and Wong filling in for Mitch Haniger and Adam Frazier, respectively, who both signed with new teams, are the Mariners doing enough to close the gap on Houston?
Reporter for MLB Network John Morossi shared his thoughts on that when he joined Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob for his weekly segment on the show last Wednesday. Here is that conversation.
Is Seattle closing the gap on Houston?
• Question from Bob Stelton. How do we view what the Mariners have done this season? There’s a lot of confusion here, a lot of arguing about what they have and haven’t done to improve their list. Did they take advantage of what they accomplished in these two seasons with 90 wins and rebuilding of the fan base? … Have they done enough to get them to the next level when they bring in Teoscar Hernandez and Kolten Wong?
• Answer by John Morosi.
I think they got closer to Houston because when you look at the big picture scoreboard here, Houston of course minus Verlander, they did bring in Jose Abreu. Houston is still the better team, they still are. But Seattle is getting closer, assuming their core guys, who are now in their 20s and up — I’m thinking of (Julio) Rodriguez and Ty France and Cal Raleigh — continue to get better. … Even JP Crawford is only 28, so you expect him to get better. And I think you still strongly believe that you’re going to see better versions of all those players.
I think Wong (as a left-handed hitter) is dealing with some issues with the lack of balance…Teoscar Hernandez, we’ve talked about him, I’m a big fan of him. I think he’s going to really address the issues that they’ve had, maybe, being able to hit big home runs and drive in runs against really good pitching. He’s done that a lot in his career.
… I just think this (Mariners) team is in a pretty good place overall. And to be honest, they have a pretty tough team to contend with in Houston, along with an improved Texas team. Texas pitching will be much better. So it’s going to be a very competitive American League again. If there’s one thing we know (Mariners president of baseball operations) Jerry Dipoto, even though I might think they’re close to being ready for the season, he probably doesn’t agree and will probably make a few more trades.
Morozzi on what the Marines have left to do
I’d still like to see them get another DH bat. … Is it a trade? Are you even looking at bringing back Nelson Cruz, who wants to play another year, a low-risk, one-year deal to effectively replace (Carlos) Santa? Because there’s room right now. And yes, you can rotate through (Sam) Haggerty and (Dylan) Moore, but there’s room for a bat there.
… Here is a name to think about. … To me, at least, there aren’t a dozen teams on Trey, and he’s obviously a first-rate guy in every way. … I could see he might be a fit.
You can listen to the full conversation with Morosi on the podcast at this link or in the player below.
Jerry Dipoto Show Takeaways. marines looking for RH power