Hello and welcome back to FanPost Friday. Took a few weeks off to let the dust settle on the postseason (die, Astros, die!) and let the ol’ hot stove start to pre-heat, but now we’re back with some hot prompts, takes, and polls. Gotta give the people what they want and judging by the comment activity the last couple weeks, Mariners fans are more than ready for what will hopefully be the most pivotal offseason in recent Mariners history.
As some of you may know, I also operate LL’s Facebook page. This means I often get subjected to a different segment of Mariners fans in the Facebook comment sections. It’s a bit less like Twitter and the LL comment sections and a lot more like sports radio callers and the old Seattle Times comment sections. It’s not all bad, to be sure, it’s certainly a bit less “terminally online” than our main LL demographic. So therefore, some takes repeated on there are not always as up-to-date or as informed as on this fine website.
Case in point, I’ve noticed recently in our offseason target pieces that whenever the outfield is mentioned, the narrative of the Mariners having a “log jam” or over-abundance of outfielders within the organization is still being thrown around a lot. I believe this narrative started between the 2020 and 2021 season, and certainly could have been argued as true back then. But, given what we saw in 2021, I just can’t fathom how anyone could look at our top four OF options for 2022 and say “Yup, we’re set. No need for further depth.”
Let’s take a look at what we’ve got here.
Outfielders with MLB playing time:
- Mitch Haniger - It was honestly a miracle that he played the entire season after missing nearly 2 full seasons. He is, by far, the team’s most proven and accomplished outfielder.
- Jarred Kelenic - He struggled mightily, but ended the season trending in the right direction at the plate and was absolutely smoking the ball when he made contact. I honestly think he’s fine as the mostly everyday center fielder, but not everyone shares that opinion. But again, his MLB track record at the plate remains short and spotty. Having depth behind him is good.
- Kyle Lewis - Lewis is perhaps the biggest question mark on the whole roster at this point. As updates on his knee injury got worse and worse throughout his rehab in 2021, ending with Jerry Dipoto saying that he probably won’t be full-go at 2022 Spring Training, it just seems like the team is far, far safer not relying on or expecting much of anything from Lewis going forward and treating whatever playing time he can give as a total bonus.
- Jake Fraley - He is bad and fragile like an old Christmas tree ornament.
- Dylan Moore - Should not be getting any significant number of OF starts on a competitive team.
- Taylor Trammell - Struggled at MLB level, but played well in AAA the rest of 2021. Still very unproven and shouldn’t be relied on as a producer for any competitive team.
- Julio Rodríguez - We all know Julio and Jarred are the two potential franchise cornerstones on which this whole rebuild basically depends on. We saw how hard Kelenic struggled during his first months in MLB. Rodríguez will certainly struggle, too, although how much and for how long is anyone’s guess. Regardless, banking on your 20-year-old top OF prospect who has not played above AA to be a top-five offensive contributor on your “going for it” roster is an extremely high-risk move. You need MLB quality depth to be there if/when things go awry. The 2020 Mariners had no such depth and while they played well above their talent level the latter half of the season, they still fell short.
- Zach DeLoach - A lot to like from DeLoach so far, but as a 2020 draftee he is nowhere near MLB-ready.
- Jack Larsen - A non-drafted, non-prospect who has played his way up through the system the last 3 seasons, but certainly isn’t being held up as a possible major contributor at the MLB level.
- Cade Marlowe - A 2019 draftee, lots to like, but also not MLB-ready.
- Alberto Rodríguez - Definitely an exciting prospect, but again nowhere near MLB-ready.
And you can check out the rest of the OF depth chart here and see that it’s just a lot of not-ready players and players who will likely never be more than organizational depth.
Kinda grim looking for 2022 right now, huh? Well, the good news is that the Mariners, by all accounts, have money to spend and there are quite a few attractive free agent outfielder options that would turn this grim Mariners outfield into a flourishing garden of dingers and web gems.
Prompt: What does your ideal 2022 Seattle Mariners outfield look like?
Submit your OF plan in the comments or go long in FanPost form. You’ve seen a few options profiled on the main site so far, but let’s hear some weird and wild proposals. Maybe even some trades? Go for it. Of all the available possibilities, I want to hear what your ideal Mariners outfield looks like.
As usual, I’ll front page any solid FanPost submissions. Leave a comment in here if you do post one, just to make sure I don’t miss it.
Have a great weekend, folks! Watch some Kraken hockey, rake some leaves, & embrace fall however you choose.