The sweet, sweet taste of playoff baseball that fans got to enjoy in the fall of 2022 only lasts so long as the Seattle Mariner faithful learned last season when they came up empty on their quest for back-to-back postseason appearances. A third-place finish behind the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros wasn’t good enough but with Texas and Houston meeting in the ALCS and the Rangers going on to win the World Series, the Mariners knew that they were close after finishing just two games back of the Lonestar State teams.

Being that close led to some eyebrows being raised when Jerry Dipoto and the Mariners front office began to make some pretty sizable changes to the roster. Fan favorites like Eugenio Suarez, Marco Gonzales, and Teoscar Hernandez were sent out the door along with once promising young prospects like Jarred Kelenic. While they weren’t replaced by any of the big name free agents, the front office did do a nice job by getting the best bang for their buck. While they weren’t the most attractive moves, they should cutdown on the strikeouts and see a higher percentage of balls put in play. Let’s take a deeper dive into the additions and subtractions.


Eugenio Suarez- Probably the biggest morale loss for the Mariners this offseason was the trade that sent Eugenio Suarez to Arizona where he will rejoin Paul Sewald. Suarez brought the good vibes for the M’s in his two seasons in the PNW and also brought plenty of power. In his two seasons with the club, Geno totaled 53 home runs and 183 RBI. The 410 total strikeouts is the biggest reason the Mariners decided to move on which will be a common theme in the subtractions part of this piece. The power and energy will definitely be missed as well as the surprising high level defense. It will be hard for the new platoon at third base to replace everything Suarez brought to the team.

Jarred Kelenic- Back in 2021, I did an entire article about the debut of Jarred Kelenic. He was supposed to save the franchise and be the face of the Mariners for the next decade after being acquired from the Mets in the deal that sent both Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to Queens. After the news broke that Kelenic had been traded to Atlanta, we can say that things never really reached the expectations that were attached to Kelenic. Last season was without a doubt the best year for Kelenic, but a broken foot after kicking a cooler put a damper on his breakout season. An awful first spring with Atlanta has already frustrated their fanbase but the return is not exactly thrilling the people of the PNW. I get sad when thinking about Kelenic because the passion is there and the talent as well. The pressure has just worn him down and I hope a change of scenery will benefit the young outfielder.

Teoscar Hernandez- Another victim of the cutdown on strikeouts for the Mariners was Teoscar Hernandez. In just one season with the M’s, Teo hit 26 home runs and drove in 93 runs. 211 strikeouts was by far the most in his career, but it was also the healthiest season of his career as Hernandez played in 160 games. Again, the power is going to be missed in the Mariner lineup but I believe the most frustrating thing about Teoscar’s departure is that the M’s didn’t even give him a qualifying offer. The defense was an issue at times last season but a lineup without Teoscar Hernandez is always going to be less powerful.

Marco Gonzales- The longest tenured Mariner after last season, Marco Gonzales was traded to Atlanta in the Jarred Kelenic move before being moved to Pittsburgh in another trade. After getting off to a strong start last season, Marco suffered an injury that kept him out for the remainder of the season. With young arms like Bryce Miller and Bryan Woo, the M’s had a surplus of arms and unfortunately it just did not make sense to keep Marco anymore. A Seattle staple will definitely be missed, but this was a move that is beneficial to both the player and organization.

Robbie Ray- Most will remember Robbie Ray for allowing the walk-off home run in game 1 of the ALDS in Houston. That is one of the final memories we have of Robbie Ray as a Mariner. After missing virtually all of last season due to injury, the front office made the decision to dump Ray’s salary to bring back a familiar face. It was a big splash when the Mariners signed the 2021 AL Cy Young winner for the 2022 season, but the inconsistencies were a consistent issue in the southpaw’s tenure in Seattle. While he was not as bad as many fans will make you believe (3.71 ERA in 2022) he never lived up to Cy Young level expectations and did not fit into the young rotation that the Mariners have built.

Jose Caballero- Now we get to one of my personal favorites. Jose Caballero was a spark plug for the Mariners last season. With the struggles of Kolten Wong in 2023, Caballero quickly took advantage of playing time at second base but on the basepaths is where he really stole the show. There were countless times where Caballero manufactured runs just by forcing errors on pickoff attempts or he would steal second and third to make it that much easier for the hitter to drive in a run. While his bat fell off as the season went along, the speedy Caballero still made an impact as a pinch runner. Seattle made too many moves and believe they have found their long term second baseman while Caballero will get the opportunity to be the everyday shortstop in Tampa Bay.

Others- Mike Ford, Tom Murphy, Justin Topa, Isaiah Campbell


Mitch Haniger- When I wrote this article one year ago, I talked about how much Mitch Haniger meant to the Mariners rebuild. After a very rough season in San Francisco, Mitch Haniger will now return home where he hopes to find the form that made him such a scary hitter in his five seasons with the Mariners. The key to Haniger’s season is always going to be his health. If we get the healthy Mitch Haniger that we saw in 2021, this will be a very successful move. The man that promised to get Seattle to the playoffs is back and takes away from the sting of some of the new fan favorites that have left.

Mitch Garver- It is never fun to see a division rival win the World Series. So what did the Mariners do? Went out and signed one of the key pieces of the Texas Rangers postseason run. Mitch Garver homered in every playoff series that the Rangers were in last season except the Wild Card round and despite missing half of the season, still hit 19 home runs and drove in 50 runs. The new Mariner DH has the potential to hit 30 home runs every year if he can stay healthy. What he does do consistently is put the ball in play and he hits the ball hard. This team has been looking for a DH ever since Nelson Cruz left and they hope that they have found one in Mitch Garver.

Jorge Polanco- My favorite acquisition was Ryne Stanek. But with Spring Training now over, I have to say that I am beyond excited to watch Jorge Polanco be the Mariners everyday second baseman. Hitting .419 in the spring with eight extra base hits and 17 RBI is going to jump off the page for anyone. At just 30 years old, Polanco is continuing to improve and with J.P. Crawford and Julio Rodriguez hitting in front of him, Polanco will get plenty of opportunities to hit with runners on. If his trend of cutting down on strikeouts continues, this will be the best season of Polanco’s career which includes his 2019 All-Star season where he also received MVP votes. But as we have learned when it comes to second baseman for the Mariners, only time will tell how it actually works out.

Luke Raley- Looking at the spring numbers, you would have every right to be worried about Luke Raley. He struggled mightily in his first year in Peoria. However, he slugged .490 last season which is what the Mariners are hoping he can replicate this season. Raley will not be an every day starter as you can expect him and Dominic Canzone to split time in left field to start the season. Still in just year four of his big league career, Raley will need to be an extra base hits kind of guy. If he can do just what he did last year, this will be a nice piece added to a new lineup.

Luis Urias- Now this is an interesting one. Seattle acquired Luis Urias from Boston in a trade that sent Isaiah Campbell back to the Red Sox. Looking at 2021 and 2022, Urias has good numbers. Last year was abysmal. Now maybe platooning with Josh Rojas at third base will help Urias and take some of the pressure off of him. But replacing a fan favorite in Eugenio Suarez is a lot to ask of anybody let alone someone coming off the worst season of their career. Fans will be watching Urias and a hot start could be all that he needs to get back to the form he had in his two strong seasons in Milwaukee. However, a slow start could see Luis Urias turn into this year’s Kolten Wong which would likely see him leave Seattle before too long. The month of April will be a very important one for Urias.

Ryne Stanek, Gregory Santos- Clearly the Mariners have a type when it comes to relief pitching. Gregory Santos is exactly what the Mariners want. He will hit triple digits consistently with his fastball and then pairs is well with a wipeout slider. In his first full season in the big leagues last year with the White Sox, Santos put together a strong season and with the Mariners having historical success when it comes to relievers, I expect Santos to get even better. Ryne Stanek was a big get with Santos and Matt Brash starting the season on the IL. Stanek won a World Series with Houston and despite coming off a down year, can provide that veteran leadership in the bullpen. With these two guys, a healthy bullpen will once again be one of the best in the league.

Samad Taylor- Samad Taylor was in the others section until he impressed in spring. One word to describe the 25-year old’s game? Speed. Taylor has stolen 179 bases since he debuted in the minors in 2016. While we haven’t gotten to see too much of Taylor at the big league level, he screams Jose Caballero to me. It could just be Taylor needs his shot which will mean something went wrong for the Mariners this year. However, I will say, buy stock now.

Others- Collin Snider, Austin Voth, Seby Zavala, 

Projected Lineup

  1. J.P. Crawford, SS
  2. Julio Rodriguez, CF
  3. Jorge Polanco, 2B
  4. Mitch Garver, DH
  5. Cal Raleigh, C
  6. Mitch Haniger, RF
  7. Ty France, 1B
  8. Dominic Canzone/Luke Raley, LF
  9. Josh Rojas/Luis Urias, 3B

Pitching Rotation

  1. Luis Castillo (14-9, 3.34 ERA)
  2. George Kirby (13-10, 3.35 ERA)
  3. Logan Gilbert (13-7, 3.73 ERA)
  4. Bryce Miller (8-7, 4.32 ERA)
  5. Bryan Woo (4-5, 4.21 ERA)

Are you kidding me with this rotation? It is not ridiculous at all. The Seattle Mariners have unanimously a top two rotation in baseball. It is the Mariners and Braves and then everyone else. Emerson Hancock is available as the #6 starter in case there are any injuries. There isn’t as much depth as in years prior with Robbie Ray and Marco Gonzales gone via trades, but the talent is still there. Both Castillo and Kirby are legit Cy Young candidates. Kirby continues to get better and better and Castillo had a tough slump during last season that cost him a Cy Young but La Piedra looked very good in Spring Training. Logan Gilbert is going to be talked about as a trade candidate once again this season, but I would be surprised if he gets moved as he could be a sneaky Cy Young candidate. The youth at the bottom of the rotation is what will decide the fate of the 2024 Mariners. Bryce Miller seemed to gain more fans last season, but Bryan Woo finished the season very strong and was the pitcher that impressed me the most in spring. A full year of these guys will show us a lot about what their ceiling could be. Emerson Hancock will get some starts but he was impressive in his limited action last season. This is a rotation that scares teams in October. If they can navigate the 162 regular season games and get into the postseason, the Mariners will be a trendy pick to win it all.


Injuries have pelted the Mariner bullpen immediately in 2024. Matt Brash will start the season on the IL and likely won’t pitch until late April or early May. That is a big loss for the bullpen. Newly acquired Gregory Santos will be in the same boat as Brash but will fit right in when he returns from injury. Santos is a flamethrower and will live in triple digits with his fastball and has a filthy slider. Ryne Stanek will be extremely vital after the M’s signed the former Astro in the middle of March. If Stanek can flush the struggles of last season, the M’s will have three 8th inning guys with Andrés Muñoz slamming the door in the 9th. Tayler Saucedo and Gabe Speier will be important as well as those middle inning guys along with Eduard Bazardo and Collin Snider. Don’t be surprised if the Mariners add a couple of relievers throughout the season but the formula has been proven. We should never doubt that the Mariner bullpen will be a strength of this team.

AL West Preview

  • Texas Rangers- We start our dive into the AL West with the reigning World Series champions. In the first year of the new Texas Rangers, they had plenty of highs and plenty of lows but ended on the highest possible note. All of that with their two biggest acquisitions on the bench. Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom didn’t do a lot and both will start on the IL and miss a few months. Jordan Montgomery left via free agency. Guys like Jon Gray, Andrew Heaney, and Nathan Eovaldi all have to step up once again. Spoiler: the Rangers will acquire a starter at the Trade Deadline. It will happen. How close will they be to the top of the AL West? The offense is very strong and can carry the team back into October. Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, and Adolis Garcia will be the flashy names, but young guys Josh Jung, Evan Carter, and Josh Smith are names to take note of as well. One guy to watch is Wyatt Langford. The AL Rookie of the Year favorite will be on the team by summer and is a true superstar in the making. It all comes down to pitching for the defending champs and it really is a coin flip on how that pitching will fare.


  • Houston Astros- Just when we think the Houston Astros are falling off, they reload and come back as a World Series contender. The bad news is I think the 2024 Houston Astros are better than the 2023 version that made it to the ALCS. Yordan Alvarez is the scariest hitter in all of baseball and with Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman still good hitters and Kyle Tucker competing for MVPs, the lineup is just as dangerous as ever. I believe Jose Abreu will have a much better season in year 2 in Houston which puts all the pressure on the rotation and bullpen. The rotation led by Framber Valdez and Christian Javier will be just fine especially when Justin Verlander returns from injury. Houston added one of the best closers in the game in Josh Hader and if Kendall Graveman can rebound with Bryan Abreu continuing to improve, this team can win the World Series.


  • Los Angeles Angels- Somehow, someway, the Los Angeles Angels never made the playoffs with Shohei Ohtani on their roster. Now, the unicorn of baseball is gone and so are the hopes of the Angels becoming a contender in a strong AL West. Los Angeles is ok in most areas but don’t really stand out anywhere other than obviously Mike Trout patrolling center field when he is healthy. The rotation leaves something to be desired and the lineup doesn’t have much going for it either unless Jo Adell can finally breakout and show the potential we have all heard so much about. If you want to choose one guy to watch on this team other than Mike Trout, I would go with closer Carlos Estevez. This guy is trending towards being one of the most dominant closers in baseball. It took him awhile to get to this point after having mixed results in Colorado and struggling down the stretch last season, but Estevez is a guy that can quickly become a nice trade piece by July. Too bad we only get to see him when the Angels are winning which won’t be very often this season.


  • Oakland Athletics- Unfortunately, baseball is the last thing on the minds of Oakland A’s fans. Unless you live under a rock, you are aware of the relocation process this team is in. The fans don’t want the team leaving Oakland and aren’t buying tickets to send a message to owner John Fisher. Las Vegas doesn’t seem to want the A’s with mayor Carolyn Goodman saying that the team should stay in the Bay Area. The result is a poorly constructed baseball team that is worried more about saving money than putting out a passable product on the field. There is some young talent on this team with Zack Gelof and Brent Rooker stealing the show, but until ownership is done playing games away from the field, the A’s will remain one of if not the worst team in baseball. (Sell the team John)


AL West Standings Predictions

  1. Houston Astros (92-70)
  2. Seattle Mariners (88-74)
  3. Texas Rangers (85-77)
  4. Los Angeles Angels (70-92)
  5. Oakland Athletics (60-102)



WordPress Image Lightbox