Editorials

Top 5 New Free Agents for the Seattle Mariners

The non-tender deadline has come and passed and there are about 60 new free agents for the Seattle Mariners to consider. Today, we look at a handful of names that could make sense.

Before we begin, it’s worth noting that the numbering of this list is purely for dramatic effect. People love lists and countdowns, but in reality, these list are typically akin to Whose Line is it Anyways, where everything is made up and the points (or in this case the order) doesn’t matter. Without further ado, let’s look at some names.

Number 5. Eddie Rosario, OF Minnesota Twins

One of the first names to leak as a non-tender, Eddie Rosario has long thought to have been a candidate for a trade or outright release this winter, thanks to his projected arbitration salary of roughly $10 million. It’s not that Rosario is a bad player, but he isn’t as valuable as his batting average and RBI stats would seem to indicate. Overall, he is a solid bat who has posted a wRC+ of 110 or better in three of his past four seasons. He isn’t much of a defender and doesn’t walk nearly as much as most Jerry Dipoto targets, but he’s just a solid bat who lengthens any lineup.

Number 4. Kyle Schwarber, OF Chicago Cubs

The writing was on the wall for Schwarber, whom the Cubs loved, but was no longer a feasible fit after a disastrous 2020 season. Schwarber has a career 113 wRC+ and has two seasons with 30 or more home runs, including his 38 homer season in 2019. But Schwarber has been a bad defender in the outfield for the past two seasons and his swing and miss tendencies are becoming worrisome. He’ll walk enough and hit with enough power to be usable with his .230 batting average and bad defense, but he may not be as easy a fit as some Mariners fans are hoping for.

Number 3. David Dahl, OF Colorado Rockies

We’ve talked a lot about Dahl the past few days, and even made a video discussing his candidacy. Like Rosario and Schwarber, Dahl is a left-handed hitting outfielder with good power. But Dahl is a significantly better defender than either of those guys and he has three years of club control remaining. Dahl has plus raw power and pretty good speed, but has a long history of injuries. When he’s healthy, he has All-Star upside, but he’s coming off a shoulder surgery, casting more questions on his already checkered resume. Dahl won’t turn 27-years-old until April, so he has youth and athleticism on his side.

Number 2. Carlos Rodon, Pitcher Chicago White Sox

So this one legitimately surprised me. Rodon, the third overall pick of the 2014 Draft, has had an up-and-down tenure with the White Sox, but carries solid upside for an arm that won’t turn 28 until next week. He features a 92-94 MPH fastball and one of the best left-handed sliders in the game. He’s shown flashes of brilliance, but he never really put it together. It appeared that 2019 could be his breakout season after he struck out 46 batters in his first 7 starts, but he fell victim to Tommy John Surgery and missed the rest of 2019. He was able to return briefly in 2020, but some shoulder fatigue and general ineffectiveness left him with few opportunities. But the second-year back from surgery is when most pitchers return to form and if the Mariners can get 2019 Rodon on a solid deal, they’ll be better for it.

1. Archie Bradley, RHP Cincinnati Reds

The Seattle Mariners primary focus is said to be pitching, primarily of the reliever variety. GM Jerry Dipoto has spoken about the desire to add dependability and experience to his inexperienced group. And while there are plenty of options to fill out these boxes, newly minted free agent Archie Bradley could be chief amongst them. Bradley was a reasonably impactful starter before the D-Backs moved him to the pen in 2017 and he has since proven to be one the most durable relievers in the game.

But he isn’t just durable. As a reliever, Bradley has posted a 3.18 FIP, a 3.60 xFIP, 9.91 K/9, and a 3.01 BB/9 in 233 innings. Bradley has also been fairly succesful at getting ground balls, boasting a 47.3% career rate. Bradley isn’t a high spin rate arm, but while the M’s tend to prefer that player in the pen, they aren’t going to ignore productive players based on one factor. Bradley is an experienced high-leverage reliever, something a team looking to stick around the playoff race beyond July will surely need.

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