Seattle Mariners Free Agent Target: Marwin González

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 05: Marwin Gonzalez #9 of the Houston Astros reacts during the playing of the national anthem prior to Game One of the American League Division Series against the Cleveland Indians at Minute Maid Park on October 5, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 05: Marwin Gonzalez #9 of the Houston Astros reacts during the playing of the national anthem prior to Game One of the American League Division Series against the Cleveland Indians at Minute Maid Park on October 5, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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The MLB free agent market has come to a well-documented standstill, with over 100 players still looking for new homes as Spring Training begins. Is there an opportunity for the Mariners to get a really good player on the cheap?

While everyone awaits the decisions of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, the rest of the free agent market has seemingly been overlooked. Past Harper and Machado is a deep group of talented players that could significantly impact a team’s chances of competing in the upcoming season.

A lot of these players don’t make a ton of sense for the Mariners, but there’s one that jumps right off the page as a fit: Marwin González. The M’s are very familiar with González, the longtime Houston Astros utility man who remains unsigned after the ‘Stros declined to extend him a $17.9 million qualifying offer.

Despite entering a rebuilding process this offseason, the Mariners haven’t shied away from targeting Major League talent. The biggest move, of course, being the recent signing of Japanese import Yusei Kikuchi.

The reason this works for them is because of their approach to the rebuild, setting a window of contention for 2021 or 2022. Over the course of the offseason, Jerry Dipoto has said that he views free agency as a tool to put the finishing touches on a team rather than to build one from the ground up. González fits this exact mold perfectly, being an above-average talent who won’t command a lucrative, long-term contract.

But isn’t it a bit early to dive in on González, given that the Mariners are at least two seasons away from contending? Sure, but adding González doesn’t necessarily have to be for what he can contribute down the road.

Instead, the Mariners could be a good spot to land on a short-term contract. González is already a valuable piece in free agency, but with the way the market has gone this offseason, it may be better for him to test the waters again in a year or two.

Several contending teams have been hesitant to throw money at the market’s biggest names, and would be more inclined to acquire González later in the season when he’s not as pricey. González’s positional flexibility would make him a top target at the trade deadline, and the Mariners could receive a wealthy package in return.

González does, however, make sense as a mainstay for the Mariners as well. It just depends on how many years they’d be willing to commit to González, at what cost, and if he’s actually interested in grinding through the organization’s transition. If so, González is a great piece to have moving forward. However, it’s more likely that if the Mariners were to acquire him, it would be on a short-term deal.

Initially, it was expected that González would receive a multi-year contract worth somewhere up into the mid-to-high teens in terms of AAV. This likely isn’t the case anymore, given the weak market. Look for González to make somewhere near what Mike Moustakas signed for earlier today; a one-year contract somewhere in the $9-10 million range with some sort of second-year option.

It’s an interesting concept for the Mariners, though one that may not actually be in the cards for them. González is a good player, but certainly wouldn’t springboard the M’s into contention. They may be content with what they have in Tim Beckham, Dylan Moore, and Kris Negrón for now.

Next. Previewing the Mariners' 2019 catchers. dark

But the potential of a significant trade deadline return by buying low on a great player would be too good to pass up on. Or being able to snag a productive piece to carry into the early 2020s is also very attractive. All that matters at this point is whether or not there is mutual interest there, and perhaps we’ll never know. But it’s fun to think about.

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