The Seattle Mariners have an idea of where the team wants to go in the future. The club has the American League’s reigning Rookie of the Year in outfielder Kyle Lewis. Fellow outfielder Mitch Haniger will also return after missing the past year-and-a-half after rupturing a sensitive tissue.
Top-rated outfield prospect Jarred Kelenic will likely make it to T-Mobile Park at some point this season, and starting pitching prospect Logan Gilbert could also be interesting to spot.
But the Mariners did not do much of anything on the free agent market. The MLB free agency period was a weak one for the Mariners, as the team saw more players depart than they did arrive.
The club’s efforts are more about bringing up some of the exciting prospects in the farm system and less about building from outside. But the team still did bring in a couple of free agents this offseason.
— Dylan Moore (@d_moore22) February 15, 2021
Losses of Note
The Seattle Mariners lost multiple players during the free agency period. But most of those players were signed to minor league deals with other clubs.
The fact that many of these players were on the Mariners roster for part of last season gives the impression that the Mariners have a bit of work to do before they can contend again.
Infielder Tim Beckham left for the Chicago White Sox, while fellow utility player Dee Strange-Gordon signed with the Cincinnati Reds. Relievers Carl Edwards Jr. and Bryan Shaw respectively signed with the Atlanta Braves and the Cleveland Indians.
Reliever Ian Hamilton left the Mariners for the Philadelphia Phillies on the waiver wire. Hamilton had a 4.50 ERA in limited action last season.
Infielder Tim Lopes left for the Milwaukee Brewers on the waiver wire. Lopes had fifteen RBI, but his .238 average made him more of an expendable player.
Who is Joining?
There are a couple of new faces on the Mariners roster this season, including starting pitcher Chris Flexen. Flexen had a 3.01 ERA with the Doosan Bears of the KBO last season. He also averaged more than ten strikeouts every nine innings.
The Mariners hope that Flexen will be ready for the season, especially since he had more playing time with the Bears last season than what he would have got in the United States.
The Mariners also acquired middle reliever Kenyan Middleton on the free agency market. He comes from the Los Angeles Angels and has been very active in refining his strikeout pitches. Middleton could tally at least fifty strikeouts this season.
The most notable addition from outside the club is Rafael Montero, who arrives through a trade with the Texas Rangers. Montero will be the team’s new closer. He has the chance to get at least twenty saves this coming year.
What to See
The greatest thing to see surrounding the Seattle Mariners this season involves the young players who will come up through the minor league system. You can expect Logan Gilbert and Jarred Kelenic to make it to the big show this season.
Starting pitcher and recent first-round draft pick Emerson Hancock could also surprise people and reach Seattle, but he will likely start the season with the AA Arkansas Travelers alongside fellow starter and 2019 first-rounder George Kirby.
The Mariners will have to look at how well they can contend with the other teams in the AL West this season, including looking at whether the Los Angeles Angels can make a comeback.
The Houston Astros will continue to be a prominent threat as well. But the Mariners can at least feel good knowing that they won’t be as down this season as the Texas Rangers.
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