How should Mariners’ lineup look when J.P. Crawford returns?

May 14, 2024, 4:40 PM | Updated: 4:51 pm

Seattle Mariners J.P. Crawford Dylan Moore 2023...

J.P. Crawford (left) and Dylan Moore of the Seattle Mariners celebrate a win over the Angels in 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Seattle Mariners hope to get J.P. Crawford back soon.

Seattle’s leadoff-hitting shortstop is slated to begin a rehab assignment on Tuesday, as he continues to work his way back from an oblique strain that’s sidelined him for the past three weeks. If all goes well, the 29-year-old captain will likely rejoin the Mariners at some point during their upcoming 10-game East Coast road trip, which begins Friday.

Mariners injury update: When the M’s expect Crawford, Canzone to return

When Crawford returns, how should Seattle’s lineup look? Mariners broadcaster Aaron Goldsmith weighed in Tuesday during a conversation on Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy, specifically with regard to where Josh Rojas and Dylan Moore could slot in.

“I’m really curious what the trickle-down effect will be when J.P. comes back – mostly for Rojas, because Rojas has been your most effective hitter and truly one of the best hitters in baseball so far this year,” Goldsmith said. “And he’s not going to hit at the bottom of the order, I can’t imagine. I don’t know why you would do that. And so where do you put him in the teeth of the order, assuming that J.P. Crawford goes back to his leadoff spot?”

Rojas, who took over the leadoff spot against right-handed starting pitchers after Crawford landed on the injured list, has been a revelation at the plate this season. The 29-year-old third baseman has posted a team-best slash line of .343/.405/.505 with a .910 OPS, three home runs, two triples, four doubles and four stolen bases in 33 games. After beginning the season in a third-base platoon with Luis Urías, Rojas has been hitting so well that the Mariners have started giving him some time in left field, just to keep him in the lineup on days when Urías is playing.

Moore, meanwhile, has been the primary shortstop in Crawford’s absence. The 26-year-old utility player has been one of Seattle’s better hitters since May 1, slashing .270/.333/.541 with a .874 OPS, two homers, one triple and two doubles over his past 11 games. Recently, he’s moved to the leadoff spot against lefty starters.

“I think if there is a tough lefty on the mound, putting Dylan at the top of the order would not be a bad idea, and having Rojas somewhere in front of Cal Raleigh is my idea, right?” Goldsmith said. “Like, your best on-base guy this year, have him aboard when the guys who can thump are coming up. … So I think whenever J.P. comes back, suddenly the options start to really expand.”

Listen to the full conversation from Tuesday’s Bump and Stacy in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post. Bump and Stacy airs live from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays on Seattle Sports.

More on the Seattle Mariners

• M’s may have prospects for trades to take advantage of ‘wide open’ AL
• Mariners trade reliever to Cubs for Triple-A 3B with strong numbers
• ‘I cringe at it,’ Salk says of one critique of Mariners’ offense
• Will MLB trade market play into what Mariners need to fix?
• Watch: Seattle Mariners’ Julio Rodríguez blasts 2nd HR of season

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