Pittsburgh Pirates’ Bryan Reynolds comes with a steep asking price, but he’s been coveted by the Mariners for years. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

Pittsburgh Pirates’ Bryan Reynolds comes with a steep asking price, but he’s been coveted by the Mariners for years. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

Analysis: A look at remaining potenial offseason targets for Mariners

With many of the top free agents off the board, Seattle could bolster its roster via trade or low-risk signings.

By Ryan Divish / The Seattle Times

It would be too easy and predictable to resort to a clichéd holiday metaphor about the Mariners desperately scrounging for players in the bargain bins of the remaining available players, following the monthlong buying binge of top free agents.

You’ve seen those folks at Target or Walmart on Christmas Eve looking to buy something, anything that fits their needs.

But in the days leading up to and during that frenzied rush, when hundreds of millions of dollars were handed out by MLB teams for the top players available, the Mariners’ noticeable and oft-mentioned absence was essentially anticipated if not planned.

With the massive dollar figures being handed out on contracts all seemingly a year or three longer than expected, the Mariners have yet to sign a position player to address their stated needs — a right-handed hitting corner outfielder or an impact hitter who could play a corner infield spot and DH.

As president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto told Seattle Sports 710 after the winter meetings: “We knew well before where the market was headed for guys like this. And like we should, we had alternative plans and ideas on how we would make ourselves better because we obviously weren’t willing to go there.”

It’s now been 26 days since the Mariners have made a significant move to improve their 2023 MLB roster. On Dec. 2, in one of those alternative plans, Seattle acquired second baseman Kolton Wong and cash from the Brewers in exchange for outfielder Jesse Winker and infielder Abraham Toro.

Dipoto said that once the superstars finally signed with teams, the market would settle and normalize.

But what is left?

Looking at the free-agent rankings coming into this offseason, nearly all the top players have been signed.

Multiple MLB sources, and even Dipoto himself, have said that the Mariners would prefer the trade route to address their needs searching for “impact” hitters.

While the Mariners used a fair amount of prospect capital in trades last season, they might still have enough to net a lineup-changing player. Any expectation that once-heralded prospect Jarred Kelenic might headline any sort of trade package should be tempered. Mariners sources were adamant the team would only give him up in a deal that would bring back a high-level player with multiple years of club control.

If a trade doesn’t materialize, the Mariners are expected to try and look for a platoon fit for left field or perhaps a corner infielder/designated hitter-type in the remains of the free-agent market, preferring a one-year commitment if possible.

Here’s a quick look at possibilities for either route:

Impact trade ‘possibilities’

Bryan Reynolds, Pirates

Age: Turns 28 on Jan. 27

Résumé: The M’s have coveted Reynolds before he even made his MLB debut for the Pirates in 2019. But trade offers were either rebuffed or unrealistic asks (Julio Rodriguez). A switch-hitter with speed, 25-plus homer power and the ability to hit .300, Reynolds asked to be traded from Pittsburgh. Will they grant his wish?

The cost: The Mariners would have to give up Kelenic, top pitching prospect Emerson Hancock, another high-level prospect and possibly their 2023 competitive balance pick (No. 30 overall).

Randy Arozarena, Rays

Age: Turns 28 on Feb. 28

Résumé: Why would the Rays consider trading one of their most consistent hitters, who has produced a .269/.343/.462 slash line over three seasons in Tampa? Well, Arozarena is entering his first of four years of arbitration eligibility as a Super 2 qualifier. He’s projected to make around $4 million this season. The Rays have shown a tendency to move players as they get more expensive in arbitration with each season. Seattle has checked in on his availability.

The cost: It would certainly cost Kelenic, Hancock, catching prospect Harry Ford and more considering you would have control of Arozarena for four seasons.

Tyler O’Neill, Cardinals

Age: 27

Résumé: Injuries limited him to 96 games and a .228/.308/.392 slash line with 11 doubles, 14 homers and 58 RBI. While O’Neill had a monster 2021 that included 34 homers, Cardinals top prospect Jordan Walker is expected to debut in 2023.

The cost: Dipoto has checked in on bringing back O’Neill, whom he traded to St. Louis for Marco Gonzales in 2017. Would Chris Flexen and a pitching prospect like Bryce Miller work?

Other trade targets

Austin Meadows, OF, Tigers; Max Kepler, OF, Twins; Bobby Dalbec, 1B/DH, Red Sox; Ramon Laureano, OF, A’s.

Remaining ‘fits’ in free agency

Jurickson Profar

Age: Turns 30 on Feb. 20

Résumé: After an abysmal 2021 season (-0.7 FanGraphs WAR), he posted a .243/.331/.391 slash line with 36 doubles, 15 homers, 58 RBI, 73 walks, 103 strikeouts and 2.5 WAR in 152 games for the Padres last season. He had a career-high hard-hit percentage (34.3%) in 2022. A switch-hitter with more home-run power from the right side, he would provide lineup versatility. His defense in left field is about average to below average.

The cost: Profar declined an $8.3 million club option for 2023. Given his inconsistency, he might have to accept a two-year contract in range of $20-22 million, instead of the three-year deal he was looking for.

A.J. Pollock

Age: 35

Résumé: Once an All-Star for the D’Backs in 2015, he’d ideally be used as a platoon outfielder and designated hitter. His age and injury history make relying on him as an everyday player illogical. But using him in a platoon with Kelenic and also putting him at DH would fill some needs. Over his past four seasons, Pollock has a .304/.350/.593 slash line in 440 plate appearances vs. left-handed pitchers with 24 doubles, 31 homers, 75 RBI, 26 walks and 80 strikeouts.

The cost: Pollock declined a $13 million player option and took a $5 million buyout to become a free agent. He obviously believes he can find something better than $8 million on the open market while perhaps going to a team with higher postseason aspirations. It will likely take a two-year deal, similar to Profar, to gain his interest.

Brian Anderson

Age: 29

Résumé: The Mariners looked at acquiring Anderson from the Marlins at the midway point of the 2021 season, but the asking price of catcher Cal Raleigh and another prospect was wisely deemed too much. Once considered a core player of future success, Anderson was non-tendered this offseason following a down 2022 that featured three different stints on the injured list. He played in 98 games, posting a .222/.311/.346 slash line with 16 doubles, eight homers and 28 RBI. Anderson played in just 67 games in 2021 due to injuries.

The cost: They could probably get him on a one-year deal slightly over the $5.2 million he was projected to make in arbitration.

Tommy Pham

Age: Turns 35 on March 8

Résumé: Pham garnered more headlines for a fantasy football feud with Joc Pederson than his play in 2022. He started the season with the Reds and was traded to the Red Sox at the deadline. In two hitter-friendly situations — 91 games with the Reds and 53 with the Red Sox — he didn’t really meet expectations. He produced a combined .236/.312/.374 slash line with 23 doubles, 17 homers, 63 RBI, 56 walks and 167 strikeouts in 622 plate appearances.

The cost: Given his age and his reputation, it’s unlikely the Mariners or any team would give him more than a one-year contract for more than $10-12 million.

Lesser fits

Trey Mancini, 1B/OF; David Peralta, OF; Adam Duvall, OF; Jonathan Davis, OF; Andrew McCutchen, OF.

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