Mariners Free Agent Target: Jason Heyward


As Jerry Dipoto looks to continue to reshape the 2016 Seattle Mariners roster for new manager Scott Servais, one free agent they should look at is Jason Heyward.

The Seattle Mariners are looking for another outfielder.  Seth Smith and Franklin Gutierrez will platoon in left field.  Leonys Martin will play center field.  Right now they have Nelson Cruz for right field.  Except in Jerry Dipoto’s plan, Nelson doesn’t exactly fit in right field full time.  Jerry Dipoto has called for more athletic outfielders to cover the spacious outfield in Safeco field.  So, the plan must call for Nelson Cruz as the full time DH and only to spell the right fielder.  Jason Heyward fits the mold of the player that Jerry Dipoto is looking for.

Jason Heyward in 5 seasons has achieved a .268/.353/.431 slash line.  In 2015 for the St. Louis Cardinals he had a slash line of .293/.351/.439.  He added 13 home runs and 23 stolen bases.  His WAR of 5.9 for 2015 is something the Mariners should covet.   At 26 years old he has not reached his ceiling.  Adding the speed and defensive prowess to right field could significantly elevate the defense and the offense will lengthen and strengthen the batting lineup.

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As Joe Schwartz and others have reported, Heyward is highly touted as one of the premier right fielders in the game.  The 6-foot-5 245 pound right fielder can be a game changer for a team.  His Griffey-esque defense is something that is highly coveted by several teams.  Defensively adding Heyward could create one of the best outfields the Mariners have ever had.

Not much is known about how much the Mariners are willing to spend in free agency.   The first order of business for the team  is to sign Hisashi Iwakuma.    But, Jerry Dipoto did mention that the team was looking for one more outfielder.  Bringing the J-Hey kid to Seattle will take more than approximately $200 million.  It might also take Robinson Cano’s number twenty two.   Heyward has worn that number throughout his major league career in honor of a high school friend and teammate who died in a traffic accident.

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Is it realistic to see the Mariners bring in another big contract like Jason Heyward?  It has been speculated that there will be increased payroll but taking a look at the simple addition and subtractions that the team has had in the last couple of weeks since Dipoto’s arrival and the speculated payroll for 2016 one can surmise that it is very possible the team can stretch the current budget a little but it all hinges on signing Iwakuma or another top of the rotation pitcher.    As the roster continues churn from Jerry Dipoto’s brain into reality we will likely see another outfielder signed through free agency or trade.  The J-Hey kid is definitely someone who can add a lot of value to this team.  Let’s see if Jerry Dipoto can add some excitement to Cyber Monday with this signing.