Seattle Mariners Off-Season Preview: Right Field
Seattle Mariners fans can actually breathe a sigh of relief when discussing their situation in right field. Mitch Haniger has played like an All-Star since arriving in Seattle. However, could the team be interested in another one?
Okay, let’s be clear about something; the Mariners absolutely should NOT consider transitioning Haniger to be the everyday centerfielder. However, if the team is comfortable with it and it allows for Seattle to acquire a premier bat this off-season, it could make some sense.
In addition, anybody on this list would also make sense in LF, as would Haniger. So while we are looking at players who spent a lot of time in right this season, we will focus on them as outfielders in general as they are likely going to be asked to play LF.
Of course, the biggest name available in all of the free agency is that of Bryce Harper. Likely to get in the range $350-$400 million, it is incredibly unlikely the Seattle would even get into the race. A career .278/.387/.512 hitter, the 26-year-old is in prime position to garner the largest contract in the history of baseball.
His age, combined with current skill and still untapped potential leads Harper to be the prize of the off-season, and one the Mariners simply can’t contend for.
Perhaps the second most notable name in the group is Andrew McCutchen. The long-time Pittsburgh Pirate, McCutchen has spent the year with San Francisco and the New York Yankees. McCutchen isn’t the player he once was but has still posted a solid .254/.369/.426 and has played a solid right field.
There were whispers that the Mariners had interest in McCutchen each of the last 2 off-seasons, but never really solidified.
Perhaps the best fit is a dark horse free agent that hasn’t been talked about much, Atlanta Braves outfielder Nick Markakis. The 35-year-old veteran is coming off his first All-Star selection and slashed .299/.366/.444 so far in 2018. While he doesn’t possess much home run power but has averaged 40 doubles a year over his last 4 season.
The defensive metrics show him to be a decent defender and a below-average defender. Because of his age and diminishing defensive and baserunning ability, Markakis could be a nice bargain for a team looking to add a quality vet at a quality price.
A few other names that may make some sense are Melky Cabrera, Curtis Granderson, and Carlos Gomez. Cabrera and Granderson provide more value as a 4th OF who can get on base with some pop as well. Gomez is more of a high upside play, who can play 3 OF spots if needed.
As we mentioned in our left field preview, the Mariners have a need for at least 1 outfielder but probably 2. Adding a quality veteran to either insert into the lineup or the bench could provide massive value to a team that desperately needs help in both spots.