The Mariners will be without their starting left fielder to begin the season.
Seattle announced Monday that 25-year-old outfielder Ben Gamel is out 4-6 weeks with a strained right oblique muscle.
The Mariners could seek a free agent like Jon Jay or Carlos Gonzalez, though would likely offer just a one-year deal.
Collectively then, the offense is rich with talent. There’s the natural caveat of youth and the unpredictability of an offense driven by players a year or two from their expected prime age, but if a few of them click they’ll need to be reckoned with.
“During my time with the Cardinals, we’ve always been searching for that shortstop,” president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said (via the team’s website). “This does give us a level of comfort, that we’ve found a player who can play there for a long time.”
DeJong, 24, had a breakout season in 2017, slashing .285/.325/.532 with a team-high 25 home runs and 65 RBIs in 108 games to finish second in NL Rookie of the Year voting to the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger.
“I know how hard this game is, and I’m relatively new in the big leagues,” DeJong said. “For me, it’s more about a sense of security and going out there knowing the Cardinals are committed to me and I’m committed to them.”
DeJong’s extension includes two team options for 2024 and ’25 that can max out the deal at $51.5 million over eight years.
So I’d go with Mike Moustakas as my free-agent choice, with two caveats: 1) if they can get him for a decent price; and 2) on a one-year contract, because Austin Riley is waiting in the wings as the third baseman of the future. The first condition might be possible, but the second one is doubtful. So it’s not likely to happen.