Rowland-Smith’s take on Seattle Mariners’ offseason pressure

Nov 7, 2023, 2:42 PM

Seattle Mariners Teoscar Hernández...

Ty France and Teoscar Hernández of the Seattle Mariners celebrate a win over the White Sox in 2023. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

(Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The first significant news of the Seattle Mariners’ offseason arrived Monday when they decided not to give pending free-agent outfielder Teoscar Hernández a qualifying offer.

Seattle Mariners Notebook: Catcher trade; no offer to Teoscar

A qualifying offer would have amounted to a one-year deal of $20.325 million for 2024, and if Hernández declined and signed elsewhere, the Mariners would have received compensation in the form of a draft pick. That compensation is now off the table, and Hernández is free to negotiate with the rest of the MLB clubs.

ROOT Sports and Mariners Radio Network analyst Ryan Rowland-Smith told Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob the news isn’t what he expected, in part because the M’s need offensive help and Hernández had two good months that showed how high the slugger’s ceiling is.

“I was a little surprised,” said Rowland-Smith, a former MLB southpaw. “… I’m looking at this going, alright, right now, is he worth it? In regards to what he did like based off 2023, no. … But to my point here, I just think that, man, you have got some serious holes in your roster. If you can look at Teoscar and say, OK, we know the guy, we know it took him a little bit to get settled in, we know those two months he put up. If he does that for four months where he puts up that production, yes, it’s worth it and let’s go address the rest of the roster. That’s kind of my point.”

Now the Mariners need to find ways to fill those holes, including one that otherwise might have been taken care of if Hernández was given a qualifying offer and decided to return. It amounts to a lot of pressure on the front office this offseason, something Rowland-Smith is aware of. In fact, he even identified a few reasons for it.

First, of the final four teams that were alive in the playoffs last month, the Mariners were connected to three of them. There’s obviously their two American League West rivals, the Houston Astros and eventual World Series champion Texas Rangers, who met in the ALCS just weeks after they finished the regular season with only two more wins than Seattle. Then there is the Arizona Diamondbacks, who reached the World Series a few months after making a big trade with the Mariners to acquire closer Paul Sewald.

The second reason Rowland-Smith said there’s pressure on the franchise is the fact that two Mariners players – Cal Raleigh and J.P. Crawford – said publicly near the end of the season that they feel the team needs more help from the front office in terms of acquisitions.

As for a third?

“We know about the fact that the fan base is looking at the Mariners going, ‘Hey, listen, we’re not happy where we’re sitting right now,'” Rowland-Smith said.

So what does that mean for the front office?

“You should be so motivated to go out and make some things happen this winter,” he said. “I think you’re still going to have to (find) players outside of free agency – you’re gonna have to make some trades. You’re gonna have to put your career on the line, essentially. I know that sounds dramatic if you’re in the front office, but you’re gonna have to make some moves that define your position in a front office.”

Listen to the full Wyman and Bob conversation with Ryan Rowland-Smith in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post.

More on the Seattle Mariners

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Can the Mariners find their next Nelson Cruz this offseason?
Mariners lose reliever Penn Murfee to Mets on waiver claim
Morosi: Why M’s should spend at ‘higher level’ and ‘behave accordingly’
Could a World Series outfielder help Seattle Mariners solve key issues?

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