Mariners’ Gilbert: Team’s ‘momentum’ for 2023, impact of new rule changes

Mar 25, 2023, 11:56 AM

Mariners Logan Gilbert...

Logan Gilbert of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the San Diego Padres at T-Mobile Park on September 13, 2022. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Mariners have a number of young players who contributed to their playoff run a year ago that are back and ready for the next step in 2023. One of those players is right-handed starting pitcher Logan Gilbert, who is entering his third season in Seattle’s rotation.

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Gilbert, 25, joined Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob live in Peoria, Ariz. on Tuesday and discussed his feeling about the 2023 Mariners, one of their top offseason pickups and his thoughts on the new rule changes.

First off, after ending the playoff drought and returning the majority of the roster, Gilbert feels like the Mariners have a lot going for them this season.

“I feel like we have momentum. I feel like we’re confident and (have) momentum with where we’re at and what we built in the offseason, too, getting a couple pieces here and there,” he said. “We’re ready to take that next step. I think we saw it last year, too. We weren’t far off from winning those last few games. I think we have it in us.”

The biggest piece the Mariners got this season is slugging right fielder Teoscar Hernández, a two-time Silver Slugger who Gilbert faced three times while Hernández was with Toronto.

“I remember when we got Teoscar, I was pretty excited about that, also because I don’t have to pitch to him anymore,” Gilbert said. “I’ve seen just how good he is on the other side of the ball, so I know when he’s in our outfield, it’s going to be pretty special.”

Gilbert has had his share of success against Hernández, striking him out three times in eight at-bats, but the veteran slugger has gotten Gilbert, too, hitting a home run in his first at-bat against the then-rookie. He also has two career doubles off Gilbert.

“He definitely left his mark and impression on me, so I’m happy to not have to pitch to him anymore,” Gilbert said.

New Rules

Baseball will look much different this season.

There is now a pitch clock where the pitcher has 15 seconds to start his motion after receiving the ball from the catcher when no runners are on base, and 20 seconds if a runner is on. Additionally, the defensive shift is restricted as there must be two infielders on each side of second base and they can’t be touching the outfield grass. Pitchers can also disengage the rubber twice per at-bat for pickoff attempts or just stepping off.

Gilbert ran through his thoughts on those rules.

The pitch clock

“Every time out, I felt a little more comfortable with it,” he said. “I’m naturally (working at) a pretty decent pace out there. But knowing how fast to go but also not to rush and go too quick just because there’s a timer out there, I think I’ve kind of gotten in a groove of where that is.”

Limited pickoff attempts

“It’s a little adjustment. I think there’s some strategy a little bit, too,” Gilbert said. “… Today was actually my first day picking over twice, so they can basically just go whenever they wanted, so that was definitely interesting being on the mound. Just an interesting feel out there. I also think it’s going to increase the running game out there a little bit, so just something to be weary of.”

Shift restriction

Does this new rule change what Gilbert does on the mound?

“Maybe a couple batters here or there. For the most part, I don’t worry about it too much,” he said. “But those huge, big, pull lefties, there might be a little strategy there, as well. But for the most part, half the time, I didn’t even know they were shifted behind me. I just kind of threw the ball and it happened to go to people, so that worked out.”

Listen to the full interview with Gilbert at this link or in the player below.

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