WYMAN AND BOB

Morosi thinks Mariners’ bats will ‘come around,’ DH woes are ‘fixable’

Apr 21, 2023, 12:47 PM

Seattle Mariners...

Kolten Wong of the Seattle Mariners reacts after striking out on April 18, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Seattle Mariners are off to a relatively slow start to the 2023 season as they enter this weekend’s series with the St. Louis Cardinals at 8-11 after getting swept by the Milwaukee Brewers earlier this week.

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After some early pitching and defensive struggles, those two aspects of the Mariners’ game have improved greatly over the last few weeks. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of Seattle’s offense, which ranks 24th in team OPS and 19th in runs scored so far.

Is it time to hit the panic button? MLB Network’s Jon Morosi doesn’t think so, but he shared his concerns and reasons for optimism during his weekly interview with Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob on Thursday.

“I’m not panicked. I’m a little surprised at how they’ve started,” he said. “I thought that after last year that they would really burst out and just have a really strong start to the season. And if you were to tell me that (Jarred) Kelenic’s statline would look the way that it does today – and if I knew no other information about this team – if you’d told me this and we’d had this conversation on March 29, I would say, ‘Wow, if Kelenic’s playing like this then they’re in first place.’ And they’re not. So that just tells you how troubling and how just how challenging it can be to get off to a great start of the year.”

Kelenic has been one of MLB’s best storylines to open the year as he enters Friday slashing .310/.385/.603 (.988 OPS) in 17 games played, but many of the Mariners’ other hitters can’t say the same about starting the year on a high note. Morosi thinks ultimately the team’s hitting is better than it’s given credit for.

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“What I think about the Mariners’ offensive issues by and large (is) the individual numbers and output player by player is better than what the actual run scoring has looked like in terms of who has delivered for the most part and who’s having at least a solid start to the year,” he said. ” … I think they’ve been fine offensively. They’ve looked bad because it just hasn’t worked out (especially with the four extra-inning losses).  So I think that they’ve not come through with the well-timed hits, whereas the last couple years, they were great in these one-run games – that was their domain. And that’s hard to sustain.”

Ultimately, Morosi does think things will change when it comes to the Mariners and scoring more runs.

“I think that the offense will eventually come around,” he said.

New second baseman Kolten Wong has gotten off to a terribly slow start, and Morosi noted he’s only got one year left on his contract, so things need to change there soon.

What’s more of a concern than Wong’s production has been the lack of contribution from the Mariners’ designated hitter spot.

“The DH spot has been really a challenge,” Morosi said.

The Mariners have made it no secret over the last few years that rather than fielding an everyday designated hitter, they want to cycle players through that DH spot both to try and take advantage of certain pitching matchups as well as to give everyday position players a partial day off by taking them out of the field.

So far, that approach has yet to pay dividends with the Mariners ranking dead-last in baseball in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS and hits at the DH spot this year.

“They’ve cycled in five or six guys at that spot and really have not gotten much production there,” Morosi said. “Again, that’s a spot in the lineup where you traditionally need some thump because that’s your DH. That’s also something that you can fix. That is a fixable issue … So they are not as far away from being good as they may appear.”

Listen to the full discussion with Morosi at this link or in the player below.

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