As the MLB postseason prepares to kick off, the Seattle Mariners are piecing together their outfield plans with plenty of question marks and players battling injuries.
Jesse Winker injury news latest hurdle for Seattle Mariners to overcome with outfield injuries
With the news coming on Wednesday that the Seattle Mariners placed Jesse Winker on the 10-day injured list with a neck issue (cervical disc bulge), the Mariners reportedly do not expect to have Winker back for any part of the postseason. In his first season in Seattle after a March trade with the Cincinnati Reds, Winker settled in as the primary left fielder, totaling 475 plate appearances while the next-highest belongs to Sam Haggerty with 86.
Haggerty, by the way, went on the injured list after injuring his groin on Monday and will reportedly be out for at least the first two rounds of the postseason.
While Winker’s numbers were down in his first Mariners campaign, he still posted a 103 OPS+ and was a sizable part of Seattle snapping its two-decade postseason drought.
The injuries to Winker and Haggerty come at a time when Seattle is just getting AL Rookie of the Year candidate Julio Rodriguez back from time on the injured list with back issues. Rodriguez has been the primary center fielder for the Mariners this season, and Seattle leads all MLB in bWAR from its center fielders with 3.7.
When postseason play opens on Friday, Mitch Haniger will likely continue to hold down right field duties while Rodriguez patrols center field. Left field options will include Dylan Moore and Jarred Kelenic, a pair of players who were plunked in Tuesday’s game against the Detroit Tigers, but “checked out okay” as Seattle fans worried about more injuries in the outfield.
Left field has been an issue for the Mariners all season as the team has combined for a minus-1.6 bWAR, ranking 24th in baseball. For Seattle to advance past Toronto in the Wild Card round, the Mariners will have to put aside plenty of soreness in the outfield and find some offensive answers in left field.