5 budget free agents the Mariners need to sign this offseason

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Taijuan Walker #99 of the Seattle Mariners pitches in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics during their Opening Day game at T-Mobile Park on July 31, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Taijuan Walker #99 of the Seattle Mariners pitches in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics during their Opening Day game at T-Mobile Park on July 31, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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Mariners: Carlos Santana rounds the bases after hitting a home run
Carlos Santana #41 of the Cleveland Indians rounds third on a two-run homer during the sixth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Progressive Field on September 21, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Carlos Santana

Santana hits free agency for just the second time in his career at age 34. The All-Star first baseman has spent his whole career in Cleveland except for one year with the Philadelphia Phillies. He spent ten days in the offseason with the Mariners in 2018 after he was acquired in the deal that sent Jean Segura to Philadelphia and JP Crawford to Seattle, but Santana was then dealt to the Indians.

Santana’s hitting statistics throughout his career are great, with a batting line of .248/.366/.446 over his 11-year career. He has had an OPS+ over 100 (league average) every single season of his career, except the shortened 2020 season. Santana had a miserable 2020 where he hit below the Mendoza line (.199) and had just a .699 OPS.

Despite his age and bad 2020, Santana offers a ton of positives. He will be cheap because of the two aforementioned negatives plus his poor defense (-6.0 defensive WAR for his career) and should go in the one year $8 million range.

His defense will not be a problem for the Mariners as Santana could be an everyday DH, as well as the backup first basemen and safety net in case Evan White has another poor offensive season.

Santana is also a switch hitter who has hit lefties better than righties his whole career and had a .979 OPS vs lefties in 222 plate appearances in 2019. This would help the Mariners who were one of the worst hitting teams vs lefties in 2020.

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