SHANNON DRAYER

Drayer’s Quick Hit: Why Mariners’ needs may include another starter

Jun 25, 2024, 2:24 PM

Seattle Mariners Luis Castillo Bryce Miller Bryan Woo...

Bryce Miller, Luis Castillo and Bryan Woo of the Seattle Mariners during a 2024 game. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

An internal thought I’ve had about the Seattle Mariners came out Tuesday on The Dugout with Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy. It’s a thought regarding the trade deadline that I had been kicking around and had yet to say on air because it almost seems like crazy talk with the Mariners, but I think it is worth at least discussing.

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Acquiring an impact bat should absolutely be a priority. And for me, a high-leverage reliever is right there, as well – as in as important. But what about starting pitching?

For all the talk of league executives saying the Mariners are the team you don’t want to face in the postseason because of the starting pitching, they are talking about the starting pitching right now. What is that going to look like in the coming months?

To date, Seattle’s rotation has thrown the most innings in baseball. The Mariners are trying to protect the very talented but young arm of Bryan Woo, who landed on the injured list Tuesday with a hamstring strain. There has been inconsistency with the other talented young starter, Bryce Miller. In short, there have been some wobbles in what, by design, needs to be the rock-solid foundation.

Mariners place right-hander Bryan Woo on 15-day IL

What has been most impressive is what the Mariners’ 1-4 starters have posted thus far, with Logan Gilbert, Luis Castillo, George Kirby and Miller all in the top 21 in innings thrown (and Gilbert in the lead). This is happening in a season where they are hoping to throw extras in October. If everybody is healthy, the Mariners have the ability to get the starters extra rest when needed by utilizing spot starts, and that should help. But what if all of a sudden that depth is needed on a permanent basis? Ideally, that is where Woo or Miller would step up, but there are no guarantees.

It is hard to project what any rotation will be in two or three months time, but it’s perhaps worth more of a thought than one might expect.

Mariners general manager Justin Hollander is always the first to say you can never feel comfortable about what you have when it comes to starting pitching depth. A month ago, the thought of adding starting pitching at the deadline was not on the radar. And I’m not saying that starting pitching on June 25 should be a priority. It certainly would not be easy as the competition to acquire another starter would be half of baseball, and the ideal rental could be scarce. But if this is an all-in year for the Mariners, do you look at it a little bit closer over the next month?

It is, after all, their bread and butter.

Listen to Mariners insider Shannon Drayer’s full segment from The Dugout in the podcast at this link or in the player below. The Dugout is an hour of Mariners interviews and conversations that airs from 1-2 p.m. each Tuesday during Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy.

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