Free agents who Mariners could be ‘opportunistic buyers’ of
The Mariners are coming off a 90-win 2021 season, and the offseason is seen as one of the biggest in the organization’s history as the team looks to end a playoff drought dating back to 2001.
While everyone expects the Mariners to make a play at top free-agent infielders like Marcus Semien and Kris Bryant, is there perhaps another area of free agency where Seattle could make a splash that would help them make the postseason in 2022?
“I could see some interest in a guy like Marcus Stroman. I think there’s a shot,” McDaniel said of the 30-year-old right-handed pitcher. ” … There’s a second tier of pitchers behind Robbie Ray, Kevin Gausman, Max Scherzer – Clayton Kershaw belongs in that group as well – where there’s some real uncertainty.”
Stroman, who pitched for the Mets in 2021, has some question marks as he opted out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and he’s had a few injuries since 2018. Another arm in the same category as Stroman, McDaniel said, is Carlos Rodón, who finally put together the kind of 2021 season many expected of him given his status as a former No. 3 overall pick. Rodón, a southpaw who will turn 29 next month, was an All-Star for the first time but only made 24 starts for the Chicago White Sox as he dealt with a shoulder injury late in the year.
“Carlos Rodón, I think, is worth a three-year deal at $17-20 million, but he didn’t get offered the (qualifying offer), which is one-year, $18 million, from the White Sox. I still don’t know why,” McDaniel said. “… It sort of suggests there’s something we don’t know going on around (his) health. All that is to say that that tier of the $40-60 million guaranteed range where it’s Rodón, Marcus Stroman and a couple other guys … that’s the area where one of them is going to settle for $35-40 million or maybe sign a one-year deal.”
McDaniel doesn’t think that the lower tiers of the starting pitching market are the only places where some will have to settle for shorter or less valuable deals.
“I mentioned it with some of those shortstops like (Trevor) Story and (Javier) Báez – some of these guys who everyone thinks is going to get big money, a couple of them are going to get left out and not get the high-end number they want and they’re going to be left over on the market on a one-year deal,” he said.
That’s where the Mariners could really strike, McDaniel said, if they’re patient.
“I think Seattle has some room in the payroll, room in the lineup, room in the rotation,” he said. “It could be one of those opportunistic buyers like we’ve seen with the Braves in the past where they’ll just sit and wait and if somebody that they like will take a one-year deal at a price that they can justify, they will do it and just stay sort of (financially) flexible. Obviously, the rumors are sort of pushing towards Marcus Semien, and that would eat up a lot of that flexibility.”
Listen to the full discussion at this link or in the player below.