2019 MLB 3B Free Agent Class and how it Impacts the Mariners
We continue to wrap around the infield of the Seattle Mariners and examining how much the free-agent class impacts Seattle’s plans this off-season. Today, we look at third base.
Now, let’s be honest; the Seattle Mariners opening day third baseman is more than likely going to be Kyle Seager. He has 2-years left on his contract, including a team option, totaling $38 million for 2020 and 2021. They also have a $15 million option for 2022, with a buyout that maxes out at $3 million.
So, all in all, the Mariners are locked into Seager for another 2-years at $40 million guaranteed. Now, Seager’s solid bounce-back campaign has helped re-gain some trade value, but the clause in his contract that turns the team option into a player option if traded is still a major problem.
In order to move Seager for anything of value, GM Jerry Dipoto would almost have to cover the $15 million option, plus more for each season. When you factor all that in and understand that the Mariners don’t have any in house replacements, the evidence overwhelming points toward Seager sticking around until at least 2021. If he plays like he has the past 2 months, that isn’t a bad thing.
But strange things happen, so just in case something goes down, let’s take a look at some of the names who may be available this winter.
The biggest name on the market, and possibly the most expensive position player this winter, is Washington Nationals third baseman, Anthony Rendon. He is an NL MVP candidate and will likely make $25-$30 million AAV.
Josh Donaldson is the consolation prize. Donaldson had to “settle” for a 1-year, $20 million contract from the Atlanta Braves last off-season and after a somewhat quiet start, Donaldson is on pace to put up a 6 bWAR season. He will also likely get a short-term deal worth $20-$25 million per year as well.
The third tier consists of Mike Moustakas and Pablo Sandoval. Moustakas has a bit more flexibility, having played second base for a large chunk of 2019. However, he has a mutual option, and may not hit the open market.
After the big names, the third base market is mediocre at best. Veterans Todd Frazier, Asdrubal Cabrera, and David Freese could all find homes as platoon or bench options. Eduardo Nunez, Jung Ho Kang, Josh Harrison, and Yangervis Solarte could also find work as utility options, though all have major concerns going forward.
The thin third base market may make some team desperate enough to give the Mariners something that would make it worth giving up Seager, but it is just unlikely.