The Seattle Mariners are in the market for a big left-handed bat this offseason, and Kyle Schwarber of the Boston Red Sox could be a perfect fit.
Kyle Schwarber posted a .266/.374/.554 slash line this season (resulting in a stellar .928 OPS), along with 32 home runs and 71 RBIs while splitting time with the Red Sox and the Washington Nationals. This offseason, he will most likely hit free agency, as he’s due an $11 million mutual option that he would be unwise to accept; his performance this season puts his value well above that amount.
The Mariners are expected to pursue top performers regardless of position this offseason in order to bolster a young lineup that surprisingly achieved 90 wins this season. With veteran third baseman Kyle Seager likely departing, a left-handed hitter in the middle of the lineup will be high on Seattle’s priority list once free agency begins in November.
Schwarber has the ability to play corner outfield and first base, and has also seen significant time as a DH. This flexibility is valuable in the Mariners’ eyes; if Seattle can’t land a top second baseman (such as Marcus Semien) in free agency, Ty France and Abraham Toro have the ability to play second and third base, so Schwarber could step in to handle first.
His outfield and DH experience could also come in handy, as left field could be up in the air with former AL Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis experiencing considerable injury issues that could impact his ability to be ready for Opening Day. Right fielder Mitch Haniger is expected to split time between right field and DH moving forward, so Schwarber could pick up the same role, just on opposite days as Haniger.
Finally, the most attractive piece of Schwarber’s resume (in my opinion) is his significant postseason experience; he has over 100 career postseason plate appearances, won a World Series with the Cubs in 2016, and is in the thick of an American League pennant chase with the Red Sox as we speak. For a team full of players who have never tasted the postseason, Schwarber’s late-season experience would be a major asset.
Be sure to keep an eye on the five-day window after the World Series (where contract options are exercised) to see if Kyle Schwarber will hit the free agent market, and stay tuned for more free agent targets as we progress through the Mariners’ offseason.