Morosi: The top Mariners offseason target over even Ohtani

Oct 6, 2023, 10:01 AM | Updated: 11:22 am

Seattle Mariners...

Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Guardians scores against the Seattle Mariners on April 9, 2023. (Jason Miller/Getty Images)

(Jason Miller/Getty Images)

With the Seattle Mariners’ 2023 season in the books, all eyes are now looking ahead to what they may or may not do this upcoming offseason.

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Naturally, the top offseason target for Mariners fans and fans of many other MLB teams is two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani, who is hitting free agency after likely another American League MVP Award.

Ohtani has been at the center of Mariners’ fans attention for a while now, most notably at the 2023 MLB All-Star Game in Seattle. But MLB Network’s Jon Morosi told Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob that he thinks another MLB superstar is one that the Mariners should make a top priority.

“My first choice … even ahead of Ohtani, is if you could find a way to talk with the Guardians about José Ramirez,” Morosi said.

Ramirez, 31, is a third baseman who has spent his entire career in Cleveland. The five-time All-Star is one of baseball’s top hitters as he’s a switch hitter with power who hits for average, walks a lot and doesn’t strike out much. In 2023, Ramirez walked and struck out 73 times each, and had an OPS of .831 while hitting 24 home runs and driving in 80 runs. He also stole 28 bases.

Ramirez did sign a long-term extension with the Guardians last offseason through the 2028 season, but Morosi thinks Cleveland could be willing to trade him as the franchise figures out its next steps.

“With them, (manager Terry) Francona is leaving,” he said. “I realize (Ramirez is) on a long-term deal (with a) full no-trade clause, all those things. But maybe just file that one away. Because if I was a Mariner fan and could wave the magic wand, I would honestly say give me a trade for J-Ram as opposed to waiting for the Ohtani possibility, which is probably like 15%. Take the sure thing if you can do it. You’ve got the pitching, you’ve got a lot of pieces. Make the phone call to Cleveland, in my opinion.”

Other options

The Mariners need lineup help in a big way this offseason, so outside of Ramirez, who are some names that would fit Seattle?

“You need to do some work with your lineup to just get back to being as good as you were this year because as of a few weeks from now, Teoscar (Hernandez) is a free agent and he was one of their more important bats in the second half. So what do you do there?” Morosi said.

Morosi has brought up New York Mets star first baseman Pete Alonso with Wyman and Bob before. He mentioned two other corner infielders who play out on the East Coast.

“Alec Bohm in Philly. Yandy Díaz in Tampa, they’re always up for making a deal,” Morosi said. “I would always be nervous about making a trade with Tampa because you very rarely do well when you make the trade.”

Ultimately, the type of hitter the Mariners need is clear, Morosi said.

“I’m mentioning all of these guys, because the one thing they have in common whether it’s Bohm, Gleyber Torres with the Yankees, Max Kepler with the Twins, Yandy with the Rays is they don’t strike out a lot,” he said. “So if I’m a Mariners fan charting my team’s course for the offseason, fill it up with free agents and trade guys who do not strike out a ton.

“So free agent-wise I’m talking about (Cody) Bellinger, Adam Duvall has had some injuries but he puts the ball in play and is a really good defender when he’s healthy, Justin Turner can change your team’s at-bat focus. He may go back to Boston but if he doesn’t, I would love to see him in Mariners uniform. Jeimer Candelario, J.D. Martinez … Wilmer Flores in San Francisco if they end up having a bit of a reboot. He’s a big name that never strikes out almost.”

Listen to Morosi’s full conversation with Wyman and Bob at this link or in the player near the top of this story.

More on the Seattle Mariners

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• Remembering sportswriting great Jim Caple – By Christian Caple
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