Seattle Mariners Free Agency Preview: Third Base
As we continue our look at the free agent class of 2018, today we land on the hot corner. For years, the Mariners have been set at the position. But with Kyle Seager’s struggles, could that all change?
No, probably not. As much as some Mariners fans want it to be, Kyle Seager will more than likely be the third baseman on Opening Day 2019. It just doesn’t make a lot of sense otherwise. They can’t trade him. Nobody is gonna take the contract, and even if you eat a large chunk of the deal, the return would be so minuscule, you are better off working with him and trying to salvage something.
Basically, Kyle Seager is the Felix Hernandez of the offense, except that Seager at least provides some value with his power and defense. But in the 1 in 1000 chance the Mariners are in the market for a 3B, it helps to know what your options are.
Perhaps the biggest name is former Mariner Adrian Beltre. The 40-year-old future Hall of Famer has battled injuries the past 2 seasons and has mentioned retiring as a distinct possibility. Even if Beltre does decide to play, he has let it be known that it will be with Texas or nobody. As fun as it is to think about, Beltre just isn’t a realistic option.
Perhaps the most expensive player amongst the third base pool will be Josh Donaldson. Donaldson has 3 All-Star appearances and an MVP award to his ledger as a soon to be 33-year-old. Unfortunately for Donaldson, he has missed most of 2018 season.
However, from 2013-2017, Donaldson posted a remarkable 36.1 bWAR, an average of over 7 wins above replacement. Basically, Donaldson was a legit MVP candidate for 5 straight years. Impressive to say the least. However, even if the Mariners could trade Seager, with Donaldson’s age, injury issues, and potential contract, it makes little sense to dive into that pool.
Aside from those 2 big names, there aren’t any obvious upgrades to the roster. Jed Lowrie has experience at the position but makes more sense at 2B, which we discussed recently here.
David Freese is a solid player who could be available in trade or free agency. In 2018, he slashed .286/.349/.458 thus far. Mike Moustakas has a pending option, but if he does hit the free agent market, he might make some sense. His average bat and solid glove don’t represent an obvious upgrade to Seager throughout his career.
With Seager locked in for another 3 years, it just doesn’t make good sense to throw more money at the 3rd base position. There are very few obvious upgrades on the market, and the money would be better spent on areas without players of long track records like Seager.