Mariners To Be Active On Free Agents—With This Condition

The Seattle Mariners made some noise this season for the first time in 20 years, making the playoffs and ending the longest postseason drought in the four major North American sports. Now they are looking to make another big splash in free agency once again this winter. 

President of baseball operations Jerry DiPoto says they will go hard after one of the superstar shortstops available (Trea Turner, Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson), but on one condition:

"Our great preference would be that we can land a shortstop that would like to play second base," said DiPoto. 

Only Turner among that group has played 2B, after he came over to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a trade last season. He switched back to short this year. 

Although he added that he won't close the door on anything, DiPoto was adamant that J.P. Crawford is their guy for the future at short. 

"J.P. is our shortstop and he's our emotional leader for us. We feel like he does a very good job in anything that we ask him to do...  

"So he'll line up for us on opening day at shortstop and the goal is to find someone to put around him. ... J.P. is our shortstop. We signed him to play shortstop. That's what we intend to do."

The 27-year-old shortstop signed a 5-year, $51M contract before the 2022 season with the Mariners. He had a bit of a down year, hitting just .243, but he still got on base at the same .339 clip he did the year previous, and DiPoto knows that he battled through injuries this season as well. 

"I know he was banged up at the end of the season as well and dealing with a knee issue of his own, but it's a long season.

"From the time he stepped on the field here for the Mariners, J.P. has done nothing but make a positive contribution... He has a way of elevating the emotion of our team in a way that very few in our clubhouse have the ability to do."

The lesson here is, find someone who sticks up for you the way Jerry DiPoto sticks up for J.P. Crawford. 

Photo: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports