SHANNON DRAYER

Seattle Mariners Notebook: News from first day of MLB offseason

Nov 2, 2023, 5:05 PM

Seattle Mariners Cal Raleigh Julio Rodríguez...

The Seattle Mariners' Cal Raleigh and Julio Rodríguez celebrate a home run on Aug. 9, 2023. (Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

(Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

The 2023 Major League Baseball season has come to an end, but awards season continues with three Seattle Mariners players gaining recognition as Silver Slugger finalists at their positions.

Former Mariners All-Star slugger Nelson Cruz retiring from MLB

Cal Raleigh, J.P. Crawford and Julio Rodríguez were among the finalists announced Thursday morning by MLB and Louisville Slugger. In addition to the individual recognition, the Mariners as a team had previously been named one of the four American League finalists for the new team award.

The Mariners had the fourth-most finalists in the American League behind the Rangers, Astros and Rays, who each had four. Raleigh, Crawford and Rodríguez combined to produce 274 runs, 81 home runs, 179 extra-base hits. They provided the majority of the Mariners’ offense, posting a combined 15.5 fWAR of the Mariners’ total 26.2 fWAR for the season.

Raleigh, who hit .232/.306/.456 with a 111 wRC+ and 30 home runs (which led all catchers), joins Adley Rutschman of Baltimore (.277/.374/.435, 127 wRC+) and Salvador Pérez of Kansas City (.255/.292/.422, 86 wRC+) as the finalists at catcher in the AL.

Crawford hit .266/.380/.438 with career-highs in on-base percentage, slugging, wRC+ (134), home runs (19), RBIs (65), walks (94, which led the AL), and OPS (.818). The other AL shortstop finalists are Corey Seager of Texas (.327/.390/.623, 169 wRC+) and Kansas City’s Bobby Witt Jr. (.276/.319/.495, 115 wRC+).

Rodríguez, who in 2022 became the second-ever Mariner to win a Silver Slugger in his rookie year, will look to follow up with another award after posting a 5.9 fWAR to lead all American League outfielders, with a fifth-best wRC+ at 126 and a slash of .273/.333/.485. He also was seventh in the AL in home runs (32) and third in RBIs (103). His competition includes Adolis García of Texas, Luis Robert Jr. of Chicago, Kyle Tucker of Houston, Anthony Santander of Baltimore, Aaron Judge of New York, and Randy Arozarena of Tampa Bay.

In late September, the four leading offensive teams from each league were named finalists for the new team award with the Rangers, Rays, Astros and Mariners selected. Those teams were the top four in fWAR this season. A fan vote, which took place Sept. 5 through Oct. 1, will be one component in determining a winner. The Silver Slugger winners will be announced Nov. 9 on MLB Network.

Notes

• With the World Series completed, some key dates are now in place. As of Thursday, players who have expiring contracts or at the end of club control can become free agents. Teoscar Hernández, Tom Murphy and Dominic Leone fall into this category for the Mariners. All teams have the next five days to negotiate with their expiring free agents before other teams can make offers.

Seattle Mariners Offseason: Key dates for the rest of 2023

Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto has expressed interest in bringing Murphy back. As for Hernández, the team is expected to extend the qualifying offer, which will be a one-year salary amounting to the average of the top 125 salaries from the 2023 season (just over $20 million this year). Teams have until 2 p.m. Monday to decide whether or not to extend offers to qualifying players, while players have until Nov. 14 to decide whether to accept.

• The Mariners have made their first player acquisition of the offseason, picking up right-handed reliever Cody Bolton from the Pirates in exchange for cash considerations. The 25-year-old made his MLB debut this year, making 16 appearances across seven separate stints with the Pirates for a 1-0 record with a 6.33 ERA.

More on the Seattle Mariners

Can the Mariners find their next Nelson Cruz this offseason?
Mariners lose reliever Penn Murfee to Mets on waiver claim
Morosi: Why Mariners should spend at ‘higher level’ and ‘behave accordingly’
One World Series outfielder could help Mariners solve some key issues
Morosi: Factors to watch in potential Seattle Mariners trade for Juan Soto

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