Julio Rodríguez on ’23 Mariners: ‘I don’t want to set limits for any of us’

Mar 1, 2023, 11:00 AM | Updated: 2:56 pm
Mariners Julio Rodriguez...
Mariners OF Julio Rodriguez signs autographs before a spring training game on Feb. 24, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

There’s a lot of excitement around the Mariners heading into the 2023 season, and rightfully so after Seattle ended its long playoff drought.

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A big reason for that was the play of Julio Rodríguez, who despite being a 21-year-old rookie was one of the best players in baseball and the Mariners’ biggest star in 2022.

With Rodríguez and the Mariners fully in the swing of spring training, the superstar center fielder caught up with Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk on Wednesday live at the team’s spring training complex in Peoria, Ariz.

Now that the Mariners have made the playoffs, Rodríguez said there’s a different confidence level with the team.

“I feel like we all feel capable of being back in the playoffs and competing,” Rodríguez said. “I know we’re a tough team, I know we’re tough for teams to play against us, and I know we play very good baseball. We respect everybody, but we know we’re gonna go out there and compete because we did it once, and I know we got better. I know that we have more room for improvement, and I know we’re gonna get there.”

Just how good can the 2023 Mariners be?

“Man, I don’t want to set limits for any of us,” Rodríguez said. “I feel like I never do that to myself and I don’t want to do it to this team. I just know we’re gonna go out there and compete. And at the end of the year, we’re gonna see how good we were.”

In addition to 2022 being Rodríguez’s first season in MLB, it was also the first year the Dominican Republic native spent in Seattle. It’s safe to say that Rodriguez, who signed an extension that could keep him in the Pacific Northwest through 2039, loved his experience in his new city.

“Oh man, Seattle was the best. Seattle was just the best, I gotta say it straight up,” he said. “It was just a different feeling. I know there’s a lot of good fans all across baseball, but whenever you play in the Pacific Northwest, it’s just different. It’s just a different vibe.

“It feels like home. That’s what I like about playing at T-Mobile Park and playing for the Mariners fans – they just make it feel like home. That’s what I like about it. If I feel comfortable at home, I’m gonna play the best that I can possibly play.”

Rodríguez signed with the Mariners as an international free agent when he was just 16 years old, meaning he could have signed with any of the other 29 MLB teams.

“There is not an ounce of regret in my mind about (signing with the Mariners),” he said. “There is not, especially after spending one year in Seattle and just seeing what that city is capable of and all the room that we have to improve. There is definitely not a doubt in my mind about that.”

Listen to the full interview with Rodríguez at this link, in the player below and in the video near the top of this post.

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