Justin Hollander: What makes the Mariners a 2023 World Series contender

Apr 1, 2023, 3:03 PM


The Seattle Mariners celebrate their 3-0 win against the Cleveland Guardians on March 30, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Mariners checked a very important box last year by ending their lengthy playoff drought.

Next on the list? Make it to the franchise’s first World Series.

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The M’s are coming off back-to-back 90-win seasons and have arguably their best roster in decades. Is Seattle really a World Series-caliber team?

“Yes, I absolutely believe that,” Mariners general manager Justin Hollander said before Thursday’s opening day win over Cleveland during an interview with Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy.

Hollander dove into why he thinks the Mariners really are a World Series contender in 2023.

As you might expect, Hollander started with the team’s pitching.

“I see a dominant starting pitching rotation, which is the No. 1 thing I think you need in the playoffs,” he said. “You need to go miss bats, you need to go deep into games in the postseason. Outs are really hard to get in the postseason. We have a frontline group of starting pitching who can carry us deep into the postseason. I see a bullpen with guys that do it in different ways and also have wipeout potential from top to bottom. It’s a really deep and diverse group.”

The M’s have been carried by their pitching the last two years and while the lineup put up more runs in 2022 than it did in 2021, Seattle was 18th in runs scored last season.

Due both to some additions as well as the expected growth of young players, Hollander thinks the Mariners have a lineup that does what World Series teams do.

“I see a lineup that’s anchored by stars at up the middle positions – Cal Raleigh and Julio (Rodríguez) specifically – guys who are among the best at their position,” he said. “And I see a bunch of other position players who do things that you need to do in the postseason, which is take your walks and hit homers.

“I’m excited about our group, and I absolutely think we could win the World Series this year.”

Hollander thinks a key addition to the lineup should help the Mariners in 2023, too.

“I think (Teoscar Hernández) was probably that move in the offseason. It was the first thing we did, but it was also something that we viewed as impactful and something that we needed, which is a middle-of-the-order banger and somebody who could pick up all of those RBIs that Julio is going to put on the table for him, that Ty (France) will put on the table for him, obviously adding Kolten (Wong), who will hit at the top of the order as well,” he said. “That group together, we needed to improve our explosiveness on offense and we really feel like we did that with Teo.”

Listen to the conversation at this link or in the player below.

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