WYMAN AND BOB

Which big bats could Mariners get in offseason? Watch for trades

Sep 19, 2023, 12:18 PM

Seattle Mariners Julio Rodríguez Pete Alonso...

Julio Rodríguez of the Seattle Mariners and Pete Alonso of the New York Mets at the Home Run Derby. (Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

(Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

Outside of Shohei Ohtani, the class of free agents for the upcoming MLB offseason isn’t expected to include a lot of big names. But if the Seattle Mariners look to make a blockbuster deal ahead of the 2024 season, they may still be in luck.

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There could be a few notable players available on the trade market this winter, two of which MLB Network insider Jon Morosi spoke about in particular on a recent edition of Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob. Not only that, but Morosi explained that the Mariners may be positioned better than any other team to make a run at those players.

Morosi was asked by host Bob Stelton about the status of All-Star outfielder Juan Soto, who was traded from the Washington Nationals to the San Diego Padres during the 2022 season after he decided not to sign a long-term extension. Soto, who will turn 25 years old next month, is set to become a free agent after the 2024 season.

“Well, there’s a name, and I’m glad you asked about him,” Morosi said. “First of all, we have to assume that he’s not going to sign long-term. If the Padres, with all of their deep pockets and the way they were signing everybody last offseason, if they haven’t been able to sign him by now, then I don’t think anybody’s going to sign him. So you got to look at him as basically like a one-year player.”

The same goes for another slugger set to be a free agent after next season who may be even more intriguing to the Mariners considering where their offensive deficiencies have been this year.

“I would be surprised if (Soto) signs there (with the Padres), and I would honestly be surprised if (Pete) Alonso signs with the Mets,” Morosi continued.

Alonso, 28, is a first baseman who has been one of baseball’s most prolific home run hitters in his five MLB seasons. The Mariners could look to upgrade at first considering the offensive struggles of Ty France, who was an All-Star in 2022 but has a below-average OPS+ of 97 this year (league average OPS+ is always 100). In comparison, Alonso has a 129 OPS+ in 2023.

So why would the Mariners have a leg up in trade negotiations for players like Soto or Alonso?

“To me, the Mariners have the thing that everybody wants, which is young, controllable pitching,” Morosi said, “and you’re not going to be able to utilize all of it in your rotation.”

Currently, the Mariners feature four right-handed starting pitchers age 26 or younger in their rotation: Logan Gilbert (26), George Kirby (25), Bryce Miller (25) and Bryan Woo (23). On the injured list, they also have Emerson Hancock (24), who had some impressive moments in three starts for Seattle this year.

“If you’re willing to take a big swing, (you can) trade one of the guys and bring in a bat on a short term,” Morosi said. “Now obviously Alonso is a big-time name, and so is Soto, but it’s one year. And for one year, you typically don’t see massive returns. You have the thing that will convince someone that it’s time for them to make that move.”

Something else that could be a factor are changes in the front offices for two big market teams. The Mets have hired David Stearns as their new president of baseball operations, while the Boston Red Sox are hiring after letting chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom go.

“I really believe that whoever ends up moving in in Boston, whoever is moving in in New York – obviously it’s gonna be David Stearns – you’re gonna see some executives who are willing to make some trades for young pitching,” Morosi said. “The Mariners have it. They’re gonna be able to have any conversation they want this winter.”

What would Morosi do if he was in the Mariners’ position?

“I would take the short-term bat. You’ve got the pitching to move. Shohei is amazing, love him, but I would focus more on the trade market and trying to get Soto or Alonso in a trade to bolster your team that much more.”

Listen to the full Wyman and Bob conversation with MLB Network insider Jon Morosi in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post.

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