The Seattle Mariners, a team with a rich history and a loyal fanbase, entered the 2023 season with renewed vigor and promise. This season marked the 47th in the franchise’s history and the 24th full season at T-Mobile Park. Despite a run of challenging seasons, the Mariners showed signs of a formidable comeback in 2023, making this past season one to watch. This article will take a look back at the previous year and preview what’s to come for 2024.
2023 Season Recap
The Mariners’ 2023 season was played with high expectations, the most since perhaps 2001 when they set an American League record, winning 116 games. The ‘23 team showcased competitiveness, winning 88 games, but ultimately missed the playoffs for the 22nd time in 23 seasons, a reflection of both their progress and the challenges they faced in a tough division.
Furthermore, the Mariners finished just two games out in an AL West that included the defending champion Houston Astros and eventual World Series champion Texas Rangers, both of whom made the postseason. This dynamic was further explored in podcasts where experts analyzed the Seattle Mariners odds, dissecting their performance and the factors influencing their season’s outcome.
The season’s performance had its ups and downs:
- March/April: The Mariners had a slow start with 12 wins and 16 losses, including a home record of 7-9 and an away record of 5-7.
- May: The Mariners improved in May, recording 17 wins and 11 losses, with a stronger home performance (10-6) and a decent away record (7-5).
- June: The team struggled again in June, with 9 wins and 15 losses, showing equal difficulties at home (5-5) and away (4-10).
- July: In July, the Mariners bounced back, securing 17 wins against 9 losses, with a good showing in both home (8-5) and away games (9-4).
- August: August was the best month for the Mariners, as they achieved 21 wins and only 6 losses, marking a strong performance at home (9-4) and an impressive away record (12-2). This thrust them atop the standings in the AL West.
- September: The Mariners finished the final month with a record of 12–17 (.414). They went 6–7 at T-Mobile Park and 6–10 on the road. This final month’s struggle crushed their hopes of making the postseason.
Key player performances
Julio Rodriguez, a pivotal player in the lineup, significantly exceeded expectations, greatly contributing to the team’s overall performance. Demonstrating his prowess, he batted .275, hit 32 home runs, and racked up 103 RBIs across 155 games. His standout performance was a key factor in the Mariners’ success, indicating that his contribution was vital for the team’s aspirations of reaching the playoffs.
Teoscar Hernandez, a significant offseason acquisition, had a solid year, contrary to earlier difficulties. In 2023, he achieved a .258 average with 26 home runs and 93 RBIs, showcasing his valuable contribution. Eugenio Suarez, while not matching his 2022 performance, was still a constant presence, playing in all 162 games and finishing with a .232 batting average. Despite leading the league with 214 strikeouts, he contributed with 11 sacrifice flies and maintained a league-average 101 OPS+. Both players had meaningful roles in their team’s dynamics.
2024 Outlook and Free Agency Focus
As the Mariners look towards the 2024 season, their primary focus is on fortifying their batting lineup with impactful hitters and potentially augmenting their robust pitching roster. The team’s rotation and bullpen, which were among the top five in the league in 2023, remain intact, laying a solid foundation. However, the offensive lineup, especially in the event of Hernandez’s departure, needs significant upgrades, potentially in the outfield, DH, and first base positions.
The 2024 free-agent class has limited options for powerful hitters, with Shohei Ohtani being the exception, a figure the Mariners were trying to lure. However, with Ohtani now off the market after his landmark signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Mariners are prompted to consider alternatives. Players like Mitch Garver, Jeimer Candelario, and Mark Canha are on their radar. These players offer versatility and have the potential to significantly enhance the team’s offensive capabilities. The Mariners will need to strategize effectively in the absence of a talent like Ohtani to maintain their competitive edge.
Pitching, already a strength, might see further reinforcements with potential signings like Blake Snell and Aaron Nola. Trade prospects also form a key component of the Mariners’ strategy, with possible talks with teams like the Cardinals and Orioles for acquiring bats in exchange for young pitching talent. There are also growing rumors the Tampa Bay Rays are willing to trade star pitcher Tyler Glasnow.
Additionally, the Mariners have shown interest in Jorge Soler, a free-agent slugger, to bolster their DH position. This focus on strengthening the batting lineup while maintaining a solid pitching squad positions the Mariners as a formidable contender in the 2024 season.
The Seattle Mariners’ journey through the 2023 season was a mix of promise and shortfall, marked by periods of both struggle and success. As they look ahead to 2024, their focus shifts to enhancing their batting lineup and making the most of their solid pitching foundation. With strategic free agency signings and potential trades, the Mariners aim to address key gaps and elevate their performance. Players like Jorge Soler, Blake Snell, Aaron Nola, and others are on their radar, indicating a proactive approach to building a more competitive team for the upcoming season.
The Mariners are poised for a resurgence, with a clear vision and targeted efforts to turn their aspirations into reality. They are ready to show the baseball world that the AL West doesn’t just go through Houston or Texas.