Seattle Mariners: 5 “Budget Ballers” to Consider this Winter
Yes, the Seattle Mariners are going to spend this off-season trying to get better. But they won’t have unlimited funds to try and end their 17-year playoff drought. They’ll need to get creative.
Which brings us to today topic: undervalued players who could help the Mariners in 2019. This, in layman’s terms, is what a “budget baller” is. A player who is a rock-solid producer who, for one reason or another, will be drastically undervalued by the market.
Perhaps it is age, an injury, or a split/playtime issue, but these players can represent a value to the team who takes the risk. So without further ado, let’s get started with our first “budget baller”.
Mike Zunino will more than likely be the starting catcher for Seattle in 2019. But Seattle has never been able to find a backup who can not only relieve Zunino but push him for the starters job. The closest they have come is the 1-year they got from Carlos Ruiz. Enter Kurt Suzuki.
Suzuki is coming off his best 2 season stretch of his career, slashing .276/.341/.485 in 2017-2018, elite offensive numbers for a catcher. In addition, Suzuki is still a good athlete behind the plate and has been on a 28 home run per 162 game pace in that stretch.
Suzuki could very well be the 3rd best offensive catcher in free agency but has yet to generate any significant buzz. So what gives? First and foremost, he is well beyond his statistical prime. At 35-years-old, Suzuki is old for any position by MLB standards, and especially so for a catcher.
Second, the pitch framing metrics are no friend to Kurt Suzuki. He grades out as the 4th worst framer in all of baseball. In addition, he doesn’t have a rocket arm. But his athleticism shows up in blocking balls in the dirt. But with all the focus on pitch framing, Suzuki’s value may take a big hit.
Overall, what Suzuki lacks in defensive prowess, he more than makes up for at the plate. But in a position where everybody wants a defensive stalwart, Suzuki just doesn’t fit the mold. Therefore, Kurt Suzuki is a budget baller.