There’s been a lot of talks starting up already about what the Mariners should do in the upcoming offseason. Most of it revolves around spending money and a lot of it.
How much could we actually expect them to spend? In order to try and answer that, we need to look around the league to see how much others are spending and see what is actually going to be on the books for the Mariners in 2022.
The Mariners salaries for 2022 total a fairly small number
We aren’t going to get too much into arbitration here, we will save that for another day. The Mariners do have nine players who will be arbitration-eligible this offseason, though. If everyone signs, it’s likely going to be around $25-$35 million.
Then, there are the options that are out there. All indicators point to the Mariners turning down the team option that they have with Yusei Kikuchi. Four years at $66 million is just too much. The likelihood is that he accepts his one year $13 million player option, and works towards redemption and a new contract, after a disappointing finish to 2021.
Then, there is Kyle Seager. The Mariners have a $20 million team option for him. 2022 would be his age-34 season, and it would be great to see Seager retire as a Mariner. It’s hard to know what they are going to do with him, but all options seem feasible.
So what does 2022 look like? If Kikuchi picks up his player option, and Seager and the team decide to part ways, there is not going to be a lot of money on the books.
- Arb Players – ~$25-$35 million
- Kikuchi – $13 million
- Marco – $5.75 million
- Ken Giles – $5.275 million
- Chris Flexen – $3.05 million
- Evan White – $1.4 million
All the other names you can think of are either standard team control contracts or arbitration players. Adding up the amounts above, you get to around $54-$64 million, likely closer to $55 with however arbitration pans out. The league average in 2021 was $130.8 million. The Mariners have spent before, and it wasn’t that long ago. In 2018, they were 8th. In 2019, they were 11th.
To stay a bit realistic, say they want to get to league average. That would mean the team would need to spend $80 million this offseason. If they can find a way to frontload contracts, that would likely be their preference, but again, story for another day. $80 million or so would be able to get you a frontline starter (Robbie Ray or Rodon), a top hitter (Semien), and another strong player to add to your lineup (May I interest you in a Conforto rental, perhaps?).
The Mariners have had a bit of trouble in getting high-level free agents to come here. The track record there isn’t great. However, the Mariners are in an enviable position where they have one of the best prospect systems in baseball, a contending team, and a lot of room to spend. That could be very enticing for free agents. Over these next few months, the Mariners should be able to spend, and aggressively pursue some high-profile free agents.