Mariners’ new top target may be Marcus Stroman after flurry in free agency

Nov 29, 2021, 8:53 AM
Mariners Marcus Stroman...
Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman celebrates reacts after a bases-loaded double play against the Red Sox on Sept. 21. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

The Mariners finally got on the board this offseason with Saturday’s trade for All-Star second baseman Adam Frazier, but by the end of the weekend that seemed mostly forgotten.

Why? Because free agency suddenly kicked into high gear on Sunday, and the Mariners were shut out in that regard.

M’s Breakdown: What you need to know about Adam Frazier

American League MVP finalist Marcus Semien, believed to be Seattle’s top target, went to an AL West rival, the Texas Rangers, on a massive seven-year deal. Texas also picked up starting pitcher Jon Gray, another player the M’s were linked to. Kevin Gausman, one of the top available pitchers, went to Toronto. And that’s just a sampling of what went down Sunday.

Where does that all leave the Mariners? Well, with the addition of Frazier, the lineup is in less need of addressing, though Trevor Story and Kris Bryant remain in play as infielders who could provide some thump and raise Seattle’s numbers against left-handed pitching. The starting rotation, on the other hand, is looking rather bare, which makes one name rise to the top of the Mariners’ priorities.

That would be 30-year-old right-hander Marcus Stroman, a one-time All-Star and Gold Glove winner. He’s coming off a 2021 season with the New York Mets where he posted a 3.02 ERA, 1.145 WHIP, 3.59 strikeouts-to-walk ratio, and started a league-leading 33 games. Stroman joined the Mets in a trade in the middle of his All-Star 2019 season from the Toronto Blue Jays, who he had a few successful years with, including a 2017 campaign where he earned AL Cy Young votes.

Whether the Mariners’ front office is interested in Stroman isn’t known for certain, but it is clear that a couple of Mariners players would like Stroman to come to Seattle. On Twitter last week, both Paul Sewald, a former teammate of Stroman’s in New York, and J.P. Crawford made their pitches to him. He responded positively, too.

“I agree with the both of y’all. I’m open. For real! I guess we’ll see if your front office is on the same page,” he tweeted back to them.

Stroman as a Mariners target was a topic of discussion on last week’s edition of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Talking Mariners podcast with Shannon Drayer and James “Boy Howdy” Osborn. Here’s a look at what they had to say.

Talking Mariners discusses Marcus Stroman

Boy Howdy: “I’m really curious about Marcus Stroman, and I’m trying not to get my hopes up too much because I have a little bit of a concern about his ceiling moving forward compared to how much money you’d have to pay to get him, (such as) if he’s gonna make $24 million a year on a four-year deal and pitch the same line as Marco Gonzales. I’m happy to have it, but if that’s gonna prevent you from getting like a younger cornerstone guy, that would be something that I’d reconsider. But all the same, everything else about Marcus Stroman I love. A gamer, he competes every single day, he has a huge chip on his shoulder he wears all the time, and he absolutely hates the Yankees, which I’m so much further in on Marcus Stroman than I ever was just because of that. He takes incredible care of his body and he cares about his routine. He’s constantly studying how to make himself healthier and more durable and last longer through his career. There’s just so many things to like about him.”

Shannon Drayer: “I think he’d be an absolutely fantastic, fantastic fit, and I’m not worrying about the dollars too much right now, especially when you consider that the hope is he’s not going to be the guy for long. The hope is a couple of years from now, Logan Gilbert, George Kirby, Emerson Hancock, those are going to be the guys. You need those anchors at that point. And he is somebody also, you talk about Marco, you saw him go through such a struggle this year, he could use some help with leading these players, and I think Stroman absolutely fills that bill.”

Listen to the full episode of Talking Mariners at this link or in the player below.

Drayer: Adam Frazier trade doesn’t take options off the table for Mariners

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