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2017 MLB Offseason Preview: Seattle Mariners

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MLB: Houston Astros at Seattle Mariners Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Mariners (78-84), 3rd in the AL West

Free Agents: 1B Yonder Alonso, 1B Danny Valencia, OF Jarrod Dyson, C Carlos Ruiz, IF Gordon Beckham, SP Hisashi Iwakuma, SP Yovani Gallardo

Since Jerry Dipoto became their general manager in 2015, the Mariners have not been ones to refrain from making any moves. This past season, the Mariners led the majors in roster moves and players used, but too many injuries — particularly to their starting rotation — and poor performances in September led them to missing the postseason for 16th straight time after having high expectations of getting there.

This disappointing season leaves Dipoto and company with some big needs that they have to address if they want to end their postseason drought, which is the longest active streak in baseball. One thing for sure is that they will make sure the Mariners will be in the middle of the action as the offseason heats up.

The top priority for the M’s in 2018 is starting pitching. According to Greg Johns of MLB.com, Seattle ”figures to look to add a quality veteran to the top end of the rotation if possible, as well as more depth” after having to use 40 pitchers, including 17 starters this past season. After all, the top four in their rotation suffered injuries, as Drew Smyly missed the entire season, Hisashi Iwakuma was sidelined for five months, ace Felix Hernandez was out for four months, and James Paxton — who was having a career year and regarded as one of the best pitchers in the game — had to miss three months. The Mariners did acquire three starters in Mike Leake, Erasmo Ramirez and Marco Gonzales during the season, but they have to find a durable arm that they can count on being in the rotation all year. Johns says some “possible FA fits” include Japan’s Shohei Ohtani, Alex Cobb, Lance Lynn, Tyler Chatwood, Jeremy Hellickson and Chris Tillman.

Another big position they have to fill is first base, as Yonder Alonso and Danny Valencia are free agents. Johns said the Mariners could try to bring back Alonso, who was an All-Star last year for the Athletics before being traded to Seattle, after he hit 28 homers overall and provides another power bat alongside Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz. Other potential first baseman the M’s can try to sign in free agency are Carlos Santana, Lucas Duda and Logan Morrison.

Moreover, they need to add veterans in the outfield and in the bullpen.

Last year, the Mariners started three rookies, Mitch Haniger, Ben Gamel and Guillermo Heredia, in the outfield and also had veteran Jarrod Dyson, who missed the final six weeks after undergoing pelvic surgery. Dyson is a free agent, so they will. The Mariners have already been mentioned as a possible place for Yankees outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury could go to, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Even though it would be ideal for Ellsbury, who is an Oregon native, the Mariners may not be able to swing a trade for him because he is still owed $64 million over the next three seasons plus has a $21 club option for 2021. The Mariners

As for bullpen help, the Mariners wouldn’t mind adding another consistent arm to a group that already includes young closer Edwin Diaz, Nick Vincent, David Phelps, Marc Rzepczynski, Emilio Pagan, James Pazos and Dan Altavilla. Possible free agents they could go after include Bryan Shaw, Addison Reed, Brandon Morrow and Pat Neshek.