Winter Meetings: How are the Seattle Mariners responding to the Texas Rangers?

The 2023 Seattle Mariners came into the season with expectations and ended the season with disappointment that was only compounded when Texas won the World Series.

Texas Rangers v Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers v Seattle Mariners / Steph Chambers/GettyImages
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Seattle's moves so far this offseason

General Manager Jerry Dipoto has made a couple of moves so far. They traded their starting third baseman Eugenio Suarez to the Diamondbacks for pitcher Carlos Vargas and catcher Seby Zavala. Not a real popular move among the fan base. This week Seattle followed that up with an even more confusing move. They traded Marcos Gonzales, Evan White, and former top prospect Jarred Kelenic to the Atlanta Braves for two young pitchers Jackson Kowar and Cole Phillips.

It feels like Seattle is setting up for a bigger move and is clearing payroll to make room for a significant player. The market is moving slow as baseball waits for Shohei Ohtani to make his decision. Seattle stepped back from Ohtani at the beginning of free agency. The question becomes if they are setting up to make a trade for Juan Soto? Are they clearing payroll to make room to sign Cody Bellinger?

Texas has not been very active either. They did make their first significant addition by adding reliever Kirby Yates to the bullpen on Tuesday. He will likely take over the role that Will Smith had in 2023. He will pitch in the late innings and sometimes close when Leclerc needs a break. Texas is trying to repeat as champions. I am not sure what Seattle is doing to this point. It feels like the Mariners have made their team worse trading away Suarez and Kelenic from a lineup that already was not very deep.

This is the difference between Seattle and Texas. The Rangers had to made several splash moves to turn around the franchise because of their lack of minor-league player development. They went into free agency and signed several good veteran players that helped Texas win now. Seattle is mostly relying on being able to develop a winner from a strong minor league system and being able to sustain that over several years. They have made some splashy moves, but for the most part, have stayed out of the market for high-priced free agents. They might need to change course if they are to compete with the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros in the AL West in 2024 and beyond.

Texas Rangers' fans should keep a close look at what the Mariners do. The roster decisions they make will have a direct impact on how good Texas can be in 2024. We saw this past season that one team dominating the other led to Texas making the playoffs and winning the World Series and Seattle missing the playoffs and facing several questions. If Seattle makes drastic additions it could impact the season series in a negative way for Texas. Make no mistake Seattle will still be good and will still be in the playoff race next season. Just because Texas won the World Series does not mean they will dominate the Mariners and win the division in 2024. Texas will have to earn their way back to the playoffs and Seattle will try to put up a fight and keep them from getting there.

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