Seattle Mariners: 5 Under-the-Radar Free Agent Targets

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 10: Garrett Richards #43 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitches during the first inning of a game against the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium on July 10, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 10: Garrett Richards #43 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitches during the first inning of a game against the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium on July 10, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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INF DANIEL DESCALSO

PHOENIX, AZ – JULY 22: Daniel Descalso #3 of the Arizona Diamondbacks hits a single against the Colorado Rockies during the fourth inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on July 22, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ – JULY 22: Daniel Descalso #3 of the Arizona Diamondbacks hits a single against the Colorado Rockies during the fourth inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on July 22, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Want to significantly upgrade your utility role? Your best option is to fully convert Dee Gordon to full-time utility. But that’s probably not going to happen, and Gordon will either end up in center field or be traded.

Andrew Romine was a waste of a roster spot, yet he appeared in 75 games for a playoff contender. He provided nothing other than average defense and a ton of frustration. Daniel Descalso wasn’t a good defender at any position this past season, posting a negative UZR score at every position he played, but that’s not where his value lies.

It may be in the Mariners’ best interests to forfeit a bit of defense to get better at the plate, and Descalso does just that. Playing conservatively hasn’t worked for the Mariners over the past few years, so a minor shift in strategy and roster construction could do wonders for their consistency over the course of a 162-game season.

Descalso was a 1.6 fWAR player in 2018, his best mark to date. Slashing .238/.353/.436 in 423 plate appearances, Descalso really broke out offensively for the first time in his career. Up until that point, Descalso’s career-best wRC+ was a measly 90 in 2016. That may seem to indicate a hard case of regression in 2019, but Descalso has been a career .324 on-base guy with a strong walk-rate.

Descalso would make this bench deeper, more flexible, and, simply put, better. Descalso is a defensive downgrade, but not significant enough to ignore his offensive capabilities.

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