The Seattle Mariners decided not to tender the contracts of outfielder/DH Domingo Santana and infielder Tim Beckham so they won’t return.
Santana was a surprise, in part, because how many players are non-tendered with a batting average of .253 with 21 home runs and 69 runs batted in, along with missing the last month and a half with a shoulder injury. His shortcoming was his defense. He began the season as the Mariners left fielder where his defense was poor at best.
The Mariners moved him back to right field in May, moving Mitch Haniger to center field, which was short-lived because he was injured missing the rest of the season.
The Mariners could have inserted Brandon Bishop into center field however he was injured right after Haniger. Santana played better in right field but still lacked what the Mariners needed at the position.
Whatever Santana make in free agency the Mariners felt it wasn’t worth it. The Mariners have Daniel Vogelbach returning as the DH against righties. Jerry Dipoto must feel he has a better chance to duplicate his stats of last year where he hit 30 home runs, drove in 76 runs though he batted .208. Seattle does have several right-handed hitters they could use at the designated hitter spot.
Tim Beckham the Mariners signed to a one-year contract last off-season primarily to play shortstop until JP Crawford was ready to take the role at shortstop. Beckham was found to be a defensive liability in the same way as Santana became a part-time player when JP Crawford was called up in May to take over at shortstop.
Beckham ended up playing some left field well as first base, second base, and DH. At the beginning of August, the major leagues suspended him for 80 games where he is due to sit out the first 36 games of 2020.
Nola, who played outstanding ball after he was recalled in June from Tacoma, might start at first base if Evan White, who signed a long-term deal, isn’t ready to go out of spring training. Nola could be the Mariner’s right-handed designated hitter if White does start the season in Seattle, while at the same time might play some second base, third, along with first base and catcher. He could be the Mariners backup catcher depending on whether the Mariners trade Omar Narvaez or not.
Narvaez is one of the players the Mariners decided to tender a contract on Monday. This doesn’t guarantee he will be on the team next season; however, he is eligible for arbitration along with outfielders Mitch Haniger and Mallex Smith.
The final tendered player was reliever Sam Tuivailala who is expected to be in the backend Seattle’s bullpen.
Mallex Smith began the season as the Mariners centerfielder; however, his defensive shortcomings sent him to Tacoma for a short period of time. Jerry Dipoto still considers him the Mariners center fielder for this coming season.
It could change if Jake Fraley gets off to a hot start in spring training or Brandon Bishop hits well too. Bishop is considered the Mariner’s top defensive outfielder going into spring training.
Jerry Dipoto says Smith will be starting in center field. I think he fits better in left. I wouldn’t be surprised at some point in 2020 Fraley or Lewis will be in center field. Also, I expect the Mariners will trade Mallex Smith when number one prospect Jarred Kelenic is ready to go which I am sure is next year. I hope Smith has a good year so the Mariners can get something good in return. Go M’s.