Seattle Mariners vs. Boston Red Sox Pick & Prediction MARCH 28th 2024

For two teams trying to get back to the postseason, the Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners didn’t make any earth-shattering moves this offseason.

Neither got more than a fleeting mention when it came to prized free agent Shohei Ohtani or trade candidate Juan Soto.

Does either team have enough to compete in 2024? That will be one of the top questions when they meet Thursday night in the season opener in Seattle.

The Mariners finished 88-74 last season, a game back of Toronto for the American League’s third and final wild-card berth.

Strikeout-prone sluggers Eugenio Suarez and Teoscar Hernandez are gone, via a trade and free agency, respectively. Suarez netted right-hander Carlos Vargas and backup catcher Seby Zavala from Arizona.

The Mariners sent injured left-hander Robbie Ray to San Francisco for outfielder Mitch Haniger and right-hander Anthony DeSclafani. Then they flipped DeSclafani, right-handed reliever Justin Topa and a pair of minor-leaguers to Minnesota for second baseman Jorge Polanco.

“This group is just hungry,” said Haniger, who spent one injury-prone season with the Giants following five productive years in Seattle.

“The guys in here want to win. Ultimately, being a loser is not fun. It’s really motivating just to try to get back into the playoffs and win a World Series — the No. 1 goal. It’s win the division first and get in the playoffs, and then make a run and win that last game of the season.”

The Mariners also sent right-handed reliever Isaiah Campbell to Boston for third baseman Luis Urias, and ditched the contracts of pitcher Marco Gonzales, first baseman Evan White and outfielder Jarred Kelenic to Atlanta for a pair of pitchers who won’t be available this season because of injuries.

Boston’s moves might have been even more underwhelming.

The Red Sox traded outfielder Alex Verdugo to the New York Yankees for three pitching prospects, acquired outfielder Tyler O’Neill from St. Louis, sent former ace left-hander Chris Sale to Atlanta for shortstop Marquis Grissom, and signed former All-Star closer Liam Hendriks, who is coming back from a cancer battle and Tommy John surgery.

Boston signed free agent right-hander Lucas Giolito to anchor its rotation, but he’ll miss the season with elbow surgery.

“It’s different compared to previous years,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of his youthful lineup. “This team is going to be fun to manage. We’re gonna do a lot of stuff that is probably different than in the past. We know what people think about us, but athleticism and youth helped (the Orioles) make it to the playoffs last year.

“So hopefully we can accomplish that. We’re not shying away from our goals. We just have to keep going. It’s been fun. It’s refreshing. It’s good to see good athletes out there making plays and moving around and adjusting to everything that we’re throwing at them. And I think it’s been solid so far.”

Mariners right-hander Luis Castillo (14-9, 3.34 ERA last season) is scheduled to make his fourth Opening Day start and second with Seattle. Castillo is 1-1 with a 4.09 ERA in two previous starts against Boston.

The Red Sox will counter with right-hander Brayan Bello (12-11, 4.24), who will be making his first Opening Day start. Bello is 2-0 with a 4.09 ERA in two previous starts against Seattle.

–Field Level Media

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