Should Mariners look for DH help? Passan says yes, but pickings are slim

Apr 25, 2023, 2:05 PM | Updated: 2:13 pm

Mariners Tommy La Stella...

Tommy La Stella of the Seattle Mariners at bat on Opening Day on March 30, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Seattle Mariners entered the 2023 season wanting to use the designated hitter spot as a means to rotate players, play certain matchups and give guys partial days off.

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While they’ve certainly done that thus far, the results have been bad, to say the least.

The Mariners rank last in baseball in hits, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS at the DH spot this year as that spot has effectively been a black hole in their lineup thus far.

Last year, Seattle went out and added a bat in Carlos Santana to ultimately fill that role for the season. Is it time to look for outside help to bolster the lineup once again? Here’s what ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan had to say during Tuesday’s Brock and Salk on Seattle Sports.

“The Mariners have some competition for playoff spots not only in the American League West with the Rangers and the Astros, but in the American League East with pretty much everyone but Boston. This is going to be a dogfight,” Passan said. “Can they do it without getting a DH? They can. Is it getting to the point where they need to start thinking about external options like they did last year with Carlos Santana? Yeah, it might be getting there. Because boy, it’s ugly man. It is ugly, and that is an undeniable thing.”

Passan noted he “preached patience” about the Mariners’ DH woes a few weeks ago, but that if he were a Mariners fan now, “my patience at that position? It’s running pretty thin.”

So what does Passan think the Mariners should ultimately do?

“The million dollar question without a particularly satisfactory answer,” he said. “You hope that an internal option actually steps up and separates himself because let me tell you, when you look at the guys on the outside who are possibilities to go get in a trade, yeah, it’s not great.”

Passan said he looked at hitters who are on non-contenders who are also set to be free agents next offseason. The results? Not great.

“It’s already an extremely mediocre class of hitting free agents,” Passan said.

If the Mariners are looking to make a deal, who are some names to keep an eye on?

“I think a guy like Garrett Cooper (of the Miami Marlins), a guy like (Colorado Rockies first baseman) C.J. Cron, maybe Carlos Santana – though the Pirates are playing really well right now. Maybe Adam Duvall – though the Red Sox are treading water and Duvall is hurt,” Passan said. “Joc Pederson, but are the Giants going to punt this early? No, probably not. Hunter Renfroe? Same thing with the Angels. It’s going to be a while until they punt. So there just aren’t a lot of great options for (the Mariners).”

“And, yeah, it’s a lot better if you go and handle something like this, admittedly, when there’s a giant pool of free agents out there, but I also don’t think the way that the Mariners entered the season in their plan with the DH was an unreasonable thing,” Passan later added. “I think the more unreasonable thing would have been to think that Tommy La Stella, Sam Haggerty, Cooper Hummel, everybody that they’ve tried in that spot would not be able to hit their weight.”

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

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Should Mariners look for DH help? Passan says yes, but pickings are slim