PEORIA, Arizona. – The Mariners suffered their first significant injury of the season after an MRI on Friday revealed that Dylan Moore is dealing with a grade 1 left oblique strain and will begin the season at the 10-day IL.
Moore, who recently signed a three-year, $8.75 million extension, was slated for a more pronounced role in the middle of the field – backing up shortstop JP Crawford (whom the club plans to rest more for). building) and second baseman Kolten Wong, who would have been in a regular platoon with Moore.
Mariners athletic trainers estimated that Moore would be sidelined from baseball activities for two to four weeks, and since he had already played sluggish this spring due to core surgery he underwent in December, he will need a minor league rehab assignment sometime. healthy.
So where do the Mariners stand with their depth in the field?
If the Mariners fill Moore’s spot with a pure infielder, Mason McCoy is likely to be the lead. As a primary shortstop, McCoy can also play second and third, and is coming off his most productive season with Triple-A Tacoma, hitting .256/.332/.473 (.805 OPS) in 124 games. One flag was his 25.8 percent pass rate and he hasn’t played in the Majors either.
“I don’t think it will be flashy. I think it’s pretty stable,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said of McCoy’s play. And that’s what you’re looking for in that place. … I think he had a good spring. He swung the bat pretty good. He had a kind of breakout year at the Triple-A level last year, and I think he’s very capable.”
Servais also named Jose Caballero, another candidate yet to reach the Majors. Both he and McCoy should be added to the 40-man roster.
Sam Haggerty has seen most of his Cactus League action in the infield this spring — mostly 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 influences games with athleticism and acumen, Moore’s best qualities. Haggerty will be on the Opening Day roster anyway.
“The fact that he can play third, he can play second gives you more options to move guys,” Servais said. “So that’s the beauty of what Haggs brings. All I want to say about Haggs is that he throws the best, better than ever before.
There are plenty, including a few that look like strong trading matches on paper – especially given the Mariners’ starting pitching depth to potentially deal with.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa (NYY): The Yankees are no longer tied to him as starting shortstop and they desperately need a starting pitching. He owes $6 million.
Nick Madrigal (CHC): He lost his starting appearance after the Cubs signed Dansby Swanson, and they also could use starting pitching. Madrigal hit .317/.358/.406 (.764 OPS) with a 109 OPS+ from 2020-21, but had 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 had a big dip in ’22. His advantage is that he owns one of MLB’s best infield gloves. The Royals could still use him in a Moore-esque role, but they’d start pitching right away in a trade.
Jon Berti (MIA): He led MLB with 41 stolen bases last year and was in the 85th percentile in pursuit speed, indicating good plate discipline, which the Mariners appreciate. He would probably cost something, given that he is under the club’s control until 2025.
It is also possible that the Mariners, if motivated, may pursue less prominent waiver claims.
The Mariners are holding onto what they’ve got for now. This isn’t a Trade Deadline season, there isn’t the pressure of a pennant race, and Moore isn’t a primary producer.
Moore will continue to perform maintenance work, and the Mariners will build their bench based on the best fit, rather than an outright replacement of Moore’s role.