Morosi: Why Reynolds to Mariners looks more promising, impact of Rangers’ moves
Aside from trades for Teoscar Hernández and Kolten Wong, the Mariners have had a rather quiet offseason while many other teams have been extremely active, including in the American League West.
While we wait to see what happens with Carlos Correa and the New York Mets regarding the All-Star shortstop’s medical issues, the top-end of the free-agent market is off the board.
So what’s next for the Mariners? MLB Network’s Jon Morosi joined Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob for his weekly chat and discussed what the M’s could do going forward before the start of the 2023 season.
“I think there are a couple of names (in free agency) that stand out to me,” he said. “No. 1 one is Brandon Belt as a lefty that I think would would complement potentially what the Mariners already have. And I think the other one is Jurickson Profar in left field.”
Belt, 34, is a 12-year veteran who has played his entire career with the San Francisco Giants. He’s played some outfield in his career, but at this stage is more of a first base/DH-type of player. Belt has 175 career home runs and hit a career-high 29 in 97 games in 2021. He played just 78 games in 2022.
Profar, meanwhile, is a former No. 1 overall prospect who is 29 years old and had a 3.1-WAR season for the San Diego Padres last year.
“Now, that’s the free agent side of things,” Morosi said. “Obviously, the trade part is Bryan Reynolds.”
Reynolds, 27, is a four-year veteran for the Pittsburgh Pirates who publicly asked for a trade this offseason. The 2021 All-Star outfielder hit 27 home runs in 2022 with an OPS over .800. The Mariners have reportedly been interested in Reynolds for quite some time.
Reynolds is the biggest name available in either trade or free agency, so the Mariners would face some competition if they try to acquire him. The Pirates have also said they don’t plan on moving the star outfielder.
What does help the Mariners, Morosi said, is that the Toronto Blue Jays acquired Daulton Varsho from the Arizona Diamondbacks recently. Morosi thought Toronto was a top contender for Reynolds, but now that the Jays have their lefty outfield bat, it makes the Mariners a more likely landing spot for Reynolds.
“So now that you take Toronto out of the conversation, you’re probably looking at the Yankees, Dodgers and Mariners as three of the strongest candidates to get Bryan Reynolds. So if you are a Mariner fan hoping and dreaming for Bryan Reynolds … then I think last week was good for you,” Morosi said.
Additionally, Morosi thinks Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto is far more aggressive when it comes to impact trades than those running the Dodgers and Yankees.
“Jerry Dipoto has had a greater track record in recent years of making significant trades,” Morosi said. “… I do think Dipoto has been more aggressive in trades than the Dodgers or the Yankees. So if I’m a Mariner fan, I’m keeping that possibility open.”
Another trade option Morosi would keep an eye on is Baltimore Orioles outfielder Anthony Santander.
The 28 year old hit 33 home runs and drove in 89 runs last season and is a switch-hitter.
“Even though the Orioles say that they’re not really considering moving him, he’s been to varying degrees of available for years,” Morosi said. “So I think that we have to keep that possibility in mind.”
But when it comes down to it, Reynolds is the cream of the crop, and Morosi thinks the Mariners can be patient with him and the Pirates.
“Let’s say Pittsburgh really loves (top Mariners pitching prospect) Emerson Hancock and they said, ‘Listen, we would love to have him, he would be the centerpiece (of this deal for Reynolds)’ and there’s a way that a deal could be formulated with him in the middle,” he said. “And if they would do Hancock and Kelenic for Reynolds and if you like your chances to sign Reynolds long-term, then I think you you do it. But I think that’s more of a down-the-line possibility where they can feel like Pittsburgh should come to them with that. They don’t have to be desperate to crowd out what’s already a good team and complicate things.”
Impact of the Rangers
The Texas Rangers may not be a top contender to trade for Reynolds, but they could impact the Mariners when it comes to Seattle upgrading its lineup, Morosi said.
“The Rangers in the last 24 hours have gotten better. And Nate Eovaldi is a really good pitcher,” he said.
Texas has signed Eovaldi, a former All-Star, as well as lefty Andrew Heaney and two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom in free agency this offseason while also trading for veteran right-hander Jake Odorizzi. Additionally, the Rangers return 2022 All-Star lefty Martin Perez and Jon Gray.
“Texas probably feels like ‘listen, we now have a much better rotation. We’ve already added Heaney and deGrom and Martin Perez and Jon Gray (are returning).’ And now they’ve added Eovaldi. All of a sudden, Texas has a rotation that when healthy – and those are two very important words when you’re talking about deGrom and Heaney as well for that matter – they’re just as good as Seattle’s rotation,” Morosi said.
That could cause the Mariners to be more aggressive when looking to address their lineup moving forward.
“That to me is is worth mulling over now that you’ve got one of your division rivals who is at the very least going to be a lot harder to beat in 2023,” Morosi said. “So adding one more bat might behooev the Mariners. And perhaps we can see that possibility, be it someone like Jurickson Profar, even if it’s not the high-end guy like Bryan Reynolds.”
Listen to the full conversation with Morosi at this link or in the player below.