The Seattle Mariners have emerged as the top team in the American League wild card race. They are currently holding onto the top wild card in the AL, but that doesn’t mean they have already won the spot. While they have a nice little 1.5 game cushion, there are still seven teams firmly in the hunt for a wild card spot in the AL.

The Mariners are doing their best to make sure they are one of the three American League teams holding onto a wild card spot when the season ends. They made some solid upgrades at the 2022 MLB trade deadline, and are riding a solid young core on their way to a playoff push.

But it’s clear there are still some moves to be made on their roster in the aftermath of the 2022 MLB trade deadline. Let’s take a look at two such moves and analyze how they could help Seattle run away with a wild card spot over the final few weeks of the season.

2 moves the Seattle Mariners need to make

2. Promote Nick Ramirez

Seattle has one of the deeper pitching staffs in the majors right now, thanks in part to their work at the 2022 MLB trade deadline. Luis Castillo has solidified the top of their starting rotation, and they have some dangerous arms to close out games in their bullpen. Maybe their one weakness is the front of their bullpen, and they could call up an arm from the Tacoma Rainiers to fix this problem.

One of the Rainiers best relievers in Triple-A for them this season has been Nick Ramirez. Ramirez is a former first baseman who has been transitioning to a pitcher over the past few seasons, and he may finally be major-league ready. Ramirez has been solid for the Rainiers all season long (2-2, 2.16 ERA, 10 SV, 37 K, 1.01 WHIP), and he could help out in the front of the Mariners bullpen.

Ramirez has struggled in his previous major league work with the Detroit Tigers and San Diego Padres. But 2022 may be the season where Ramirez puts everything together. He’s done well in many different situations for Tacoma, including closing out games, and that could help him find a role in Seattle’s bullpen.

The Mariners have received inconsistent production from Matt Brash this season, and he may need more seasoning in Triple-A. Swapping him for Ramirez would make a lot of sense given Ramirez’s success in the minors, and how Brash has looked out of his depth for most of his stint with Seattle this season.

Ramirez’s track record of struggles in the majors is a bit concerning, but it wouldn’t take much for him to be better than Brash at this point. If he can come up and pitch like he has in Tacoma all season long, the Mariners will have one of the top pitching staffs in the entire league.

1. Release Carlos Santana

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For the most part, the Mariners lineup is in as good of a spot as they can be. There are a few holes here and there, but there aren’t any reinforcements on the way. They could make themselves better, though, by letting go of some of the dead weight on their bench by releasing veteran first baseman Carlos Santana.

Santana was picked up from the Kansas City Royals in June to shore up Seattle’s bench, but he hasn’t had much production to speak of. He’s hitting just .171 with seven home runs and 19 RBIs in 39 games with the Mariners, which isn’t going to cut it on a playoff caliber team. Santana’s seven dingers have been nice, but he’s not hitting well enough to justify consistent at-bats right now.

Santana has playoff experience that could benefit Seattle, but in terms of his production, he really doesn’t have much to offer right now. Sam Haggerty has played his way into an everyday role, and Dylan Moore has been a better option off the bench over Santana, even though he’s hitting just .192. They could conceivably release Jake Lamb, who they recently picked up from the Los Angeles Dodgers, but there’s a better chance he improves before Santana does.

Seattle just doesn’t have any reason to give Santana at-bats this point, even off the bench. He offers a bit of power output, but it’s not nearly consistent enough to warrant more playing time, especially with the wild card race coming down to the wire. And even if Seattle makes the playoffs, how would they be able to justify giving Santana at-bats? There’s no room for Carlos Santana on Seattle’s roster anymore, and they should let him go to allow other players a more consistent opportunity to succeed down the stretch of the season.