Last night MLB Network reporter Jon Morosi tweeted out what he thought to be just another piece of reporting as he’s been doing for years saying that free-agent second baseman Kolten Wong‘s market is “heating up” and that the Cardinals (his former team), Tigers, Rays, Cubs, Phillies, and Mariners are the teams who have “checked in” on him.
What Jon Morosi did not realize was that by mentioning the Mariners, he sent the Mariners’ Twitter community into a frenzy as we all have been waiting for some rumor, any rumor, to come out connecting Seattle to a top free agent.
Mariners fans on Twitter going crazy does not really mean that we were excited about Kolten Wong, however, more so that we have been waiting to be connected to any big free agent after the fiasco of the last few weeks of rumors that Jerry Dipoto wants to spend and the ownership group won’t let him.
Wait but what about Kolten Wong as a fit for the Mariners?
Aside from getting excited seeing Seattle linked to a starting player for the first time this offseason, I am skeptical on Wong. Fangraphs has him projected to sign for 2-3 years with an AAV of $7.5 million-$10 million and MLB Trade Rumors has him signing for 2 years $16 million (AAV of $8 million).
These aren’t superstar numbers as Wong is no superstar, but unless Seattle can sign Wong closer to the 2 years for $7.5 million a year mark then I think ownership’s money is better spent elsewhere or next offseason, and with how they have been spending this offseason they probably agree.
Wong has never had an xWOBA at or above league average and has a career .717 OPS. Two of his last four seasons however he did have an OPS+ higher than league average. Another thing to consider about signing Wong is would you want him to get everyday at-bats instead of Dylan Moore? My answer would be no.
Wong has an almost perfect player comparison on the Mariners which is JP Crawford. Neither of them strikeout, they both walk a lot, and while Crawford hit just 2 home runs last year Wong hit just 1. The two have nearly identical Baseball Savant percentile rankings and while their batting stats are insanely similar, they also both won Gold Gloves last year.
In fact, the only reason that Wong singing with the Mariners would be awesome is that a ball hit into the infield might be an automatic out. Seattle would have a Gold Glover at each position if Wong signed as the two-time NL second base Gold Glover would join recent winners Crawford and Evan White, as well as 2014 Gold Glove winner Kyle Seager.
For now, it just looks like a rumor and a “We’re happy to be here” situation for Mariners fans as there are 4 competing teams listed in the Jon Morosi tweet. But, seeing our name mentioned means that ownership might be willing to open the pockets some for Dipoto. We will have to wait and see how much they open them in the next few weeks.