The MLB post-season is off to a fantastic start and the hopes are that the Mariners will be involved in that event sometime in the next 2-4 years. But they have work to do, which may include stripping down the roster a little more.
The Mariners aren’t expected to be big players in free agency. Instead, they will let their young guys play in 2020 and re-assess the team and its needs in 2020. But in order to clear the roster spots to let the young guys play, GM Jerry Dipoto still has some work to do.
So today, we will look to identify the 5 players who are most likely headed to a new city for their 2020 season and where that city may just be. But before we begin, let’s set the parameters.
First, we are talking about players who are under contract for the 2020 season or guys we know will be tendered contracts. Wade LeBlanc and his $5 million option won’t come into play, nor will likely non-tender options like Ryon Healy or Tim Beckham.
This also means that all scheduled free agents, such as Felix Hernandez, are not being considered either. Basically, we are narrowing this list down to trade candidates off the projected 40-man roster the day after the World Series ends. With all that out of the way, let’s get started.
5. Omar Narvaez
Omar Narvaez put up perhaps the greatest offensive season of any catcher in the Seattle Mariners 43 seasons. And yet, there is a decent chance he is working with a new pitching staff on Opening Day 2020. How could this be?
Well unfortunately for Narvaez, the team has a better all-around option in Tom Murphy and Austin Nola proved to be, at the very least, a solid offensive backup catcher with versatility. Narvaez’s defense did improve in Seattle, but it still lags behind average.
What keeps Narvaez from being higher on this list is multi-faceted. First, MLB is expanding rosters to 26 players. With Nola’s versatility and Narvaez well-above-average bat, carrying 3 catchers is completely viable.
Second, the market for bat only catchers could be relatively small. Most teams with an everyday catcher look for backups who are stronger defensively than their starter.
Finally, a position change isn’t entirely out of the question. For example, a move to first base could do a few things for the Mariners and Narvaez. It allows Evan White time in Tacoma to start 2020 and could also add trade value to Omar as playing a solid first base gives the acquiring team more options.
Cal Raleigh, the future catcher of the Mariners (they hope), is still at least a full year away from having a chance to stick at the MLB level, so a deal could be put off until this summer or next winter.
Teams that figure to be looking for catcher help include the Texas Rangers, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Colorado Rockies.