Morosi: Why Mariners will be patient with addressing middle infield

As the MLB offseason rolls along, a big question in Seattle is what the Mariners will do with the middle of their infield.

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JP Crawford is under contract through 2026, but there’s a question of whether he sticks at shortstop for the 2023 season and beyond as the Mariners are reportedly checking in on four All-Star shortstops currently on the open market – Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts, Trea Turner and Dansby Swanson. All four are big-name stars and have World Series rings to their name. Adding one of those four to the mix could mean Crawford slides over to second base.

But the Mariners are also reportedly checking in on the trade market for a second baseman, with Joel Sherman of the New York Post reporting Seattle reached out to the Yankees about Gleyber Torres. That came shortly after MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reported the Mariners called the Milwaukee Brewers about Kolten Wong.

Speaking of Morosi, he joined Seattle Sports 710 AM’s Wyman and Bob on Monday for his weekly Mariners conversation and he shared his thoughts and insight into Seattle’s offseason quest to add to the middle of its infield.

Simply put, Morosi expects the Mariners to add a notable name to their infield next season, be it trade or free agency.

“I think that the Mariners will get a middle infielder,” he said.

Seattle is one of a number of teams seen as a good fit for the big four free-agent shortstops, and given those players have robust markets, it doesn’t seem likely anyone will sign in the near future. That means if the Mariners really want one of Correa, Bogaerts, Turner or Swanson, they’ll need to be patient. Morosi thinks they should be and will be.

“I think the Mariners will be a little bit patient here and wait and see how the shortstop market plays out,” he said. “In other words, if Trea Turner is really available and really wants to come to Seattle, or Xander Bogaerts is really an option, see that process out until the end.”

If Seattle gets a “no” from all four shortstops, then the Mariners can pivot to players like Wong and Torres if they’re still available. And those two may not be the only middle infielders available via trade.

“There are going to be some trade fits and possibilities out there for you,” Morosi said. “And to me, yes, you might miss out. Maybe a team steps up and trades for Wong or for Torres and you miss out on the opportunity. If I’m the Mariners, I would be OK with that.”

“Because while I believe that both of those guys could give you potentially more than what you got from (second baseman Adam Frazier) this past year, the possibilities on the upside with Bogaerts or even Swanson – obviously (that would) potentially move JP Crawford to second base – but those players are worth waiting for if you can get them. They really are,” Morosi added.

A big part of the Mariners’ future is competing with and overtaking the Houston Astros in both the American League West and the American League in general. The Astros won the 2022 World Series and swept the Mariners in the ALDS along the way.

Adding one of those shortstops to the mix on top of the trade for All-Star outfielder Teoscar Hernández would go a long way in surpassing the Astros, who Morosi thinks are likely to lose Cy Young winner Justin Verlander this offseason.

“If you’re a Mariners team that says OK, let’s roll this series back against Houston one year later and the Astros have lost Verlander … and the Mariners have added Teoscar plus (one of Swanson, Bogaerts, Turner or Correa), then all of a sudden I think a Mariners fan says, ‘Hey, we’re right there with Houston if that’s the case,’” he said. “And if you miss on those four, that’s OK (because) you still have a nice supply of players available to you like Wong and Torres, and I believe they’ll get a quality second baseman.
“The floor of what they’re gonna have at second base is quite high, and it has a chance to be really high if they find themselves in the bidding for one of these shortstops. And (if) they want to come to Seattle and it’s a great fit, sign that player, move JP to second and then you feel really good about your chances to compete head-to-head with the Astros.”

Listen to the full conversation between Morosi and Bob Stelton and guest host Robert Turbin at this link or in the player below.

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