The Seattle Mariners had a -51 run differential in 2021 despite their excellent 90-72 record, so offense and pitching both could use improvements.
In the pitching department, they have some interesting arms in Chris Flexen, Justin Dunn, Justus Sheffield, Marco Gonzales, and, especially, Logan Gilbert; with Emerson Hancock and George Kirby looking like future stars in the minors.
The offense, however, needs some star power.
They ranked 22nd in MLB in runs scored, with 697.
Yes, that star power could potentially come if Jarred Kelenic (.181/.265/.350 in 2021) takes a massive step forward, which is entirely possible, or if 2020 Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis comes back mashing.
That’s why the primary reinforcements should come on offense.
Here are three players Seattle should definitely consider.
3. Carlos Correa
Carlos Correa is the star of the free agent market, and his contract will surely surpass $200 million and could approach $300 million.
He is that good: Correa, one of the best defensive shortstops in the game, hit .279/.366/.485 with 26 homers, 104 runs, and 92 RBI this year.
He is also a proven postseason performer.
As Seattle is ready to embark – finally – on an era of consistently contending for a playoff spot, Correa could be the face of the franchise for years to come.
Correa could potentially push J.P. Crawford to second or third base, unless he is willing to move himself.
Both are Gold Glove-caliber defenders, so it could be an interesting situation.
But Seattle shouldn’t pass on a talent like this, and they have money to spend.
Word is the Seattle Mariners, in contention until the very end last year when they beat all expectations but without a playoff berth since 2001, are expected to be big spenders this winter.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 8, 2021
2. Brandon Belt
Seattle committed long-term with first baseman Evan White.
The problem is that he hasn’t shown much as a hitter during his time in MLB.
That means the team could definitely be looking for improvements at the position.
Brandon Belt may be injury-prone, but is a proven commodity and has a sweet lefty stroke that could fit right in the Mariners’ lineup.
In just 381 plate appearances in 2021, Belt “belted” 29 homers and hit a fantastic .274/.378/.597.
Those 29 homers are a career-high, as he finally appeared to tap into his considerable raw power this year.
As the Mariners try to replace Seager’s left-handed bat, Belt offers the same handedness and is significantly more dangerous.
It’s a somewhat risky investment since he is already 33, but when healthy, Belt will produce.
1. Marcus Semien
Now, Toro is a promising player and Seattle should definitely keep giving him playing time, but it could come at third base so the team can sign a guy like Marcus Semien.
Semien is one of the league leaders in Wins Above Replacement (WAR) in the last three seasons, and is coming off a particularly productive 2021.
This year, he was part of the Toronto Blue Jays’ feared lineup, hitting .265/.334/.538 with 45 home runs.
He can also steal bases and plays good defense at both second base and shortstop.
Semien is actually one of the game’s most valuable players, and wants to be paid as such.
Will the Mariners come up with a big offer?
Sources: Marcus Semien is one of the many free agents under consideration by the #Mariners early in the offseason. Semien, 31, is believed to prefer West Coast clubs and has experience in the AL West; the Mariners already have shown sincere interest. @MLBNetwork @710ESPNSeattle
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 8, 2021
They might as well.