PEORIA, Ariz. – The Mariners suffered their first major injury of the season after an MRI on Friday revealed Dylan Moore suffered a Grade 1 left oblique strain and will begin the season on 10-day IL.
Moore, who recently signed a three-year, $8.75 million contract extension, was slated to have a more defined center fielder — backed up by JP Crawford (who the club plans to build more rest for) and second baseman Kolten Wong. would have been in a regular group with Moore.
Mariners athletic trainers estimate Moore would be out of baseball for two to four weeks, and since he had played slowly this spring due to core surgery he underwent in December, he will need a minor league rehab assignment. healthy.
So where do the Mariners stand with their infield depth?
If the Mariners fill Moore’s spot with a pure infielder, Mason McCoy is probably the No. 1 pick. The primary shortstop, McCoy can also play second and third and is coming off his most productive season at Triple-A Tacoma, where he hit .256/.332/.473 (.805 OPS) in 124 games. One ticket was his 25.8 percent strikeout rate, and he hasn’t played in the Majors either.
“I don’t think it’s going to be spectacular. I think it’s pretty even,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said of McCoy’s game. “And that’s what you’re looking for in that spot. … I think he’s had a good spring. He’s been swinging the bat pretty well. He had kind of a breakout year last year offensively at the Triple-A level, and I think he’s very capable.
Servais also mentioned Jose Caballero, another candidate who has yet to make it to the Majors. Both he and McCoy should be added to the 40-man roster.
Sam Haggerty has seen most of his Cactus League action this spring in the infield — mostly at second and third base — after playing just four of his 83 games around the diamond last year. Haggerty has a stronger profile in the outfield, but he’s also a spark plug who impacts games with athleticism and skill, Moore’s best attributes. Haggerty is on the Opening Day roster regardless.
“The fact that he can play third, he can play second — it gives you more options to move guys around,” Servais said. “So that’s the beauty of what Haggs brings. One thing I’ll say about Haggs, it’s his best throw, better than he’s ever been.
There are plenty, including a few that look like strong trade matches on paper — especially given the Mariners’ starting depth that could potentially be traded.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa (NYY): The Yankees are no longer committed to him as the starting shortstop and are in dire need of a starting pitcher. He owes $6 million.
Nick Madrigal (CHC): He lost his starting gig after the Cubs signed Dansby Swanson, and they could also use a starter. Madrigal hit .317/.358/.406 (.764 OPS) with a 109 OPS+ in 2020-21, but a .249/.305/.282 (.588 OPS) clip with a 68 OPS+ in ’22.
Nicky Lopez (KC): Like Madrigal, Lopez was a .300 hitter in 2021, but took a big dip in 22. The good thing about him is that he has one of the best infield gloves in MLB. The Royals could still use him in a Moore-like role, but they jumped to start the trade.
Jon Berti (MIA): He led MLB with 41 stolen bases last year and ranked in the 85th percentile in chase rate, suggesting good plate discipline that the Mariners value. He would probably cost a little as he is under the club’s control until 2025.
It is also possible that seafarers will make less significant waiver claims if they are motivated.
The Mariners are sticking with what they’ve got — for now. This isn’t Trade Deadline season, there isn’t the pressure of a pennant race, and Moore isn’t the primary run producer.
Moore will continue to go through maintenance work, and the Mariners will piece together their bench based on the best fit rather than outright replacing Moore’s role.