Share this story...
Mariners Astros
Latest News

MLB Network’s Jon Morosi: Mariners’ ‘rise’ syncing up for right time in AL

The Mariners may be on the way up while the Astros could be going the other direction. (Getty)

On the eve of pitchers and catchers reporting to Mariners spring training, MLB Network insider Jon Morosi made a visit to 710 ESPN Seattle’s Hot Stove Report on Tuesday night. If you’re a Mariners fans hoping for a good outlook regarding the team, you probably want to hear what he had to say.

Shannon Drayer’s M’s Spring Training Preview: 5 storylines to follow

“I think this is actually a perfect time to be a club right now in Seattle’s situation,” Morosi said.

Oh, well then – go on. In fact, let’s share the full context of that quote.

“I think one thing that’s going to help the Mariners, and it’s more of a multi-year story for them but certainly applies to 2021 as well, is I do not see a dominant team in the American League right now,” he told hosts Aaron Goldsmith and Gary Hill. ” If you had to ask me who the best roster (in the AL) is one through 26, I might lean to the White Sox, but I say that with a little uncertainty in my voice.

“… If I’m a team like the Mariners who is coming into my own here the next couple years and you’re dreaming on (Julio) Rodríguez and (Jarred) Kelenic and what that’s going to look like in the years ahead – (including Logan) Gilbert and the group overall – I think this is actually a perfect time to be a club right now in Seattle’s situation. I’d much rather be in the AL West than the NL West and have to deal with the Dodgers and the Padres. I think right now it’s a good situation for Seattle all the way around.”

The future of Seattle’s division is where things really get interesting, and for Morosi, that includes this year.

“If I’m Seattle, I look at this year and say, ‘You know what, being able to finish in the 80s with wins and maybe even put on a real meaningful playoff push if everything goes great,’ those are things you can dream on a little bit with this team,” he said. “It’s not out of the question based on the way this division looks top to bottom, and I still think Oakland is the class of the division if they’re healthy but they have to replace some pretty significant contributors right now with the departures of (Marcus) Semien, (Liam) Hendriks and (Robbie) Grossman.”

Opportunity in the division should only get better after this year for Seattle, too.

“I think the Mariners’ rise is syncing up very nicely with when I would expect a little diminishment or a big diminishment from Houston and Oakland, and I think the next four to five years for the Mariners have a chance to be really, really exciting,” Morosi said.

The Big Maple’s return to the Mariners

The big news for the Mariners going into spring training is the team’s reunion with left-handed pitcher James Paxton on a one-year contract, which isn’t official yet but is expected to be soon. Morosi believes the move is perfect for both sides, especially considering Paxton’s injury history and the Mariners’ familiarity in that respect.

Related: Three things the Mariners’ signing of Paxton accomplishes

“Great fit certainly I think for (Paxton) knowing the medical staff there, knowing the front office so well. The trust I think was really key,” Morosi said. “… Still being a relatively young free agent this past offseason, I think (the one-year contract) really gives him a nice chance to reestablish who he is and have a really healthy season start to finish.

“Certainly we all know what his background has been, first-class person who just has had some injury issues in the past, but I think when he is going we have seen him be almost as dominant as any lefty in the game, when he’s been healthy, at least in the American League the last several years. I think it’s a good contract for the Mariners.”

You can hear the full segment with Morosi on The Hot Stove beginning around the 17:30 mark in the podcast at this link or in the player below.

Follow Brent Stecker on Twitter.

With James Paxton back, Yankees join Mets as teams fleeced by M’s