Seattle Mariners: 2 Glaring Needs This Off-season

The Seattle Mariners had a successful season by any measure. They broke the franchise's 20-year playoff drought, and introduced the next face of the franchise, in rookie phenom Julio Rodriguez. 

But there's some work to do this offseason to continue the build to true contender status. Here now we look at two of the team's glaring needs for this offseason.

Can They Bring Back Mitch Haniger?

As valuable for his clubhouse leadership as much as for his power, Haniger has been a huge part of the Mariners in the five seasons he's been there. He only played 57 games, however, in 2022 due to injuries and he's now on the wrong side of 30. He's a free agent for the first time, although both sides would like to come to a mutually beneficial agreement.

“I think everyone would like to see us find common ground with Mitch,” Mariners general manager Justin Hollander said. “I know Mitch, for as much as he wants to be here, also wants to gauge what else is out there. So we’ll keep talking. We do love what he brings to the table.” 

Offensive Upgrade At 2nd Base

If the Mariners truly want to add a big bat to the offense, it would seemingly have to come at second base. But not necessarily with a 2nd baseman, if that makes any sense. President of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto has already said that he'd like to pursue one of the big infield names on the free agent market such as Trea Turner, Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts or Dansby Swanson. But as you've likely noticed, they're all shortstops. And the Mariners are committed to JP Crawford at short.

No problem, says Dipoto:

He says they'd love to land one of those superstar shortstops who would like to play second base. With the exception of Turner, who played a couple of months at 2B after going to the Los Angeles Dodgers at the 2021 trade deadline, all of them are lifelong shortstops, and it's unknown if any would be willing to shift positions.  

The other big question we'd put out there is: What About Winker? The beleaguered outfielder Jesse Winker had a vexing first season in Seattle, combining injuries with poor play, and a seeming ability to wear out his act on teammates. He's signed for 2023, so it's likely that he's back, with the hope that he can return to the production he showed in 2021 as an All-Star with the Cincinnati Reds. 

Photo: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports