Mariners Searching For Righty Bats, Is It Worth The Risk?
The Mariners still seek a right handed power outfield bat to complement the heavy lefty lineup they sported this year. There was talk of achieving this through trade perhaps from the Braves in Evan Gattis and Justin Upton. Despite missing out on Yasmany Tomas I’m sure the Mariners will ask on their availability. However, here are some of the others listed as possibilities: Matt Kemp, Nelson Cruz (free agent), and Yoenis Cespedes.
Nelson Cruz should be looking to make good money on a contract this winter after leading the AL in homeruns. I think the Mariners should pass when they consider his whole history rather than just last season. Before last season he had just one season in which he played more than 130 games. Even though he played 159 last year, aging isn’t going to increase durability. Other righty outfielders available in free agency don’t have the same appeal though. The Mariners are open to trades and thus don’t have to tie themselves to free agent options.
The idea of Cespedes coming to Seattle seems to be more imaginary than anything. Kemp has not come close to producing numbers like his spectacular 2011 season. On top of the injury problems he has experienced he is still due to make $21 million dollars next season and is signed through 2019. That could be a lot of spending without the desired return.
I have read that several teams have inquired about both Gattis and Upton. I haven’t heard how the Tomas signing has their availability if it has at all. Gattis doesn’t have as high a ceiling as the others but comes much cheaper giving the Mariners flexibility. But is that necessary?
There is no such thing a guarantee in anything when it comes to baseball. That holds true if any of these deals get done. Last week, I talked about how I thought Upton was worth the risk. Kemp might be a better option but given how long he’s signed I wouldn’t like the idea of being tied to that contract if he can’t live up to it. That could end up being a good thing if he does perform though.
If Kemp, Upton, or Gattis are available for the right price the Mariners have to make that deal. All come with their own pros and cons but ultimately I believe they all make the team better. Yes, they are risks but I don’t see any of these deals crippling the team long term, given they don’t give up everything for them. The are a playoff caliber team and taking risks is just part of trying to stay with the competition.