The young nucleus of the Mariners took steps forward in 2020, and they will look to add pieces to have a legitimate post-season contender in 2021.
General manager Jerry Dipoto believes he already has many of the key players in place now, either on the roster or waiting in the wings in the Minor Leagues, after several offseasons of significant turnover.
The bullpen is a concern for the Mariners. Dipoto would like to add three or four experienced relievers to a group that had the highest bullpen ERA (5.92) in the American League in 2020. Three rookie relievers stepped up this season, and they have interesting prospects, but that still leaves plenty of room to add a veteran arm to anchor the bullpen. Dipoto already made one move by bringing back former starter Kendall Graveman in a relief role.
The Mariners rotation from 2020 is still intact, as they return starters of 47 of the 60 games. An early neck issue with Graveman and a midseason trade of Taijuan Walker led to a very young rotation by the second half of the season. Pitching prospect Logan Gilbert is knocking at the door of the MLB. But Dipoto does like the idea of sticking with a six-man rotation, and he will likely add one experienced starter to the mix to help bridge the gap to Gilbert and other up-and-coming prospects.
Last year the Mariners, deployed utility infielders to cover the outfield. It wouldn’t be a big surprise to see Dipoto bring in another candidate as he did late last year.
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