Morosi: How close the Mariners are to being in top tier of AL

May 24, 2024, 10:59 AM

Seattle Mariners Luke Raley...

Luke Raley of the Seattle Mariners runs the bases against the Yankees on May 22, 2024. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

(Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

The Seattle Mariners just wrapped up back-to-back series on the road against the two of the top teams in the American League – the Baltimore Orioles (30-18) and New York Yankees (35-17).

What should we make of three struggling Mariners additions?

Seattle generally hung with the two contenders from the AL East, going a combined 3-4 over the seven games after dropping two of three to the Orioles, then splitting four games in the Bronx.

What did we learn from this last week of games for the Mariners (27-24), who emerged from the gauntlet with a three-game lead in the AL West intact?

“They played what I believe to be the two best teams in the American League pretty well over the last week,” MLB Network insider Jon Morosi said Thursday during his weekly conversation with Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob. “They split the series in New York, they lost a tough series against Baltimore, maybe they could have won that Sunday game in Baltimore. By and large, I think the last week affirms what I believe to be the case with this team, which is they’re a good team and a cut below the best teams. Good team and they’re a level below the best teams – that’s what I’ve got on the Mariners at this point in time.”

Morosi had one more thing to say at the end of that quote, however.

“Now, if Julio’s going, it’s possibly a different story,” he said.

That does appear to be the difference. Julio Rodríguez, Seattle’s 23-year-old All-Star, is off to a slow start this season. He’s hitting .257 with a .306 on-base percentage and .312 slugging mark for a .618 OPS, and just seven of his 52 hits have gone for extra bases. Those numbers are well off what he’s done for his career since making his MLB debut in 2022 – .276 average, .334 on-base, .468 slugging and .802 OPS.

Considering the Yankees’ offense has Aaron Judge and Juan Soto playing to their superstar capabilities while the Orioles have been led by a red-hot Gunnar Henderson, the performance of the Mariners’ most talented player so far looks to be a big factor in why they seem a level under the AL’s top tier.

There’s a silver lining in that, though.

“The Mariners are three games above .500 and they are in first place in the AL West, even with Julio having a .618 OPS,” Morosi said. “If you had told me at the start of the year that Julio had a .618 OPS around Memorial Day, I would say the Mariners are in trouble – and they’re not in trouble. They’re playing decent baseball. Certainly it’s been a huge help from Luke Raley and Dylan Moore. They’ve had to rely on sort of a merry cast of thousands to get where they’re at, but I actually think the arrow is still pointing up on this team.”

Getting Rodríguez back on track is a big priority, and Mariners manager Scott Servais tried something different Thursday by hitting the center fielder sixth in the order instead of his customary No. 2 spot.

“I am, like I’m sure everybody is in Seattle, a little bit confused at what’s going on with Julio’s offense. I thought by now he would have righted the ship,” Morosi said. “… Scott Servais is trying to find something. Is it a refocus? Is it a different approach? I’m not sure what it is, but the results clearly are confusing. That’s the one thing right now, in my mind, that’s stopping me from saying that this team belongs right there with the Yankees and Orioles. I think they can be there if they’re clicking on all cylinders, but they’re clearly not there right now.”

Listen to the full Wyman and Bob conversation with MLB Network’s Jon Morosi in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post. Catch Wyman and Bob on Seattle Sports 710 AM, the Seattle Sports app and SeattleSports.com from 2-7 p.m. weekdays.

More on the Seattle Mariners

Video: Bob’s Baseball Breakdown — Where M’s stand after Yankees series
Mariners add another potential bullpen arm off waivers
Mariners’ Rojas says he picked up Yanks pitch tipping on Moore HR
Mariners make three-player trade with Orioles for bullpen help
Hot start by Seattle Mariners’ Bryan Woo isn’t all about him that’s ‘absurd’

Wyman & Bob

Mariners Roof Report

Brought to you by
Mostly Cloudy then Chance Rain Showers
High 65° | Low 48°
Roof is open
Rangers at Mariners today at 7:10pm

Wyman and Bob


Seattle Sports Video

Video: Seattle Seahawks RB Zach Charbonnet on the tight-knight Running Back room

Where does Seattle Seahawks RB Zach Charbonnet’s mentality originate? How tight-knit is the RB room on this team? He joined Bob Stelton and Dave Wyman to talk about his off-season and the experience from the first set of practices this season. What does he think he can add to this Seahawks offense this season? What […]

2 days ago


Seattle Sports Video

Video: Seahawks DT Byron Murphy II on why he grew up a Seahawks fan, adjusting to life in the NFL

What did the rookie Seattle Seahawks DT Byron Murphy II have to say about what it was like to get drafted at pick #16 in NFL Draft? What does he think he can bring to this Seahawks Defense? Why did he grow up a Seahawks fan? He joined Dave Wyman and Bob Stelton to talk […]

2 days ago


Seattle Sports Video

Video: The impact that Leslie Frazier has had on the Seattle Seahawks coaching staff

What is the impact that Leslie Frazier has had on the Seattle Seahawks coaching staff? What will he bring to that Seahawks locker room? Dave Wyman and Bob Stelton discuss that and what type of coach Macdonald and the Seahawks are getting. What will he look like in his role in Seattle? Watch a snippet […]

4 days ago

Seattle Seahawks Geno Smith Titans 2023...

Cameron Van Til

ESPN’s Adam Schefter sizes up Seahawks’ QB situation

ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter weighed in on Seattle Seahawks quarterbacks Geno Smith and Sam Howell during an appearance on Wyman and Bob.

8 days ago

Seattle Mariners trade target...

Bob Stelton

Bob’s Baseball Breakdown: Would Bob go all-in on Mariners trade?

Seattle Sports Wyman and Bob co-host Bob Stelton weighs in on the big issues and storylines around the Seattle Mariners.

8 days ago


Seattle Sports Video

Video: How much is Bob willing to deal in any Mariners trades? Bob’s Baseball Breakdown for 6-6-24

Bob Stelton of Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob breaks down the state of the Seattle Mariners. What did he see this week? How much is Bob willing to deal in any Mariners trades? This week, Bob answers: – How long can this team continue to win series like they have recently? – How much is […]

8 days ago

Morosi: How close the Mariners are to being in top tier of AL