On Wednesday afternoon, October 26, the Seattle Mariners outrighted first baseman/left fielder Jake Bauers to AAA Tacoma after clearing waivers. This takes Bauers off of the 40 man roster and frees up additional space for Seattle to make moves this offseason. Bauers was acquired from the Cleveland Indians in July.
Jake Bauers was a highly regarded prospect as a first baseman in Tampa Bay and was traded to Cleveland in 2018 after underwhelming in his first big league stints. Bauers was not better in Cleveland and was traded to the Mariners after struggling to hit in 2019 and early 2021. The Mariners traded low minors pitcher Damon Casetta-Stubbs.
It ended up being an up and down season for Jake Bauers
Bauers didn’t have much playing time at first base with Ty France having a breakout year, so he played in left field and right field a lot for the Mariners. He played 44 games in the corner outfield for the Mariners in 2021. Bauers was not a plus offensively for the Mariners. Bauers posted a mere 63 OPS+(100 is league average).
The Mariners ran Bauers out too much in the outfield in the second half of the season. His being outrighted means that he can either agree to play on a minor league deal in Tacoma and stay in the Mariners organization or elect free agency. The Mariners would hope he stays as they hope to tinker with his offensive approach and swing to get more out of him. His being outrighted means that the Mariners are ready to move on from Bauers every day and improve their outfield in 2022.
With Bauers now off the 40 man roster, the Mariners have only 5 outfielders on the 40 man roster: Jake Fraley, Jarred Kelenic, Kyle Lewis, Taylor Trammell, and Mitch Haniger. The Mariners have said that Kyle Lewis is a bonus for 2022 and shows that they are not relying on him going forward. Jake Fraley is a 4th outfielder and should not get regular playing time. Taylor Trammell showed he wasn’t ready for the majors yet, and Jarred Kelenic is very unproven and young.
Mitch Haniger is the only sure thing going forward so the Mariners outrighting Jake Bauers shows that they are going to prioritize getting another outfielder who can ideally play left and center field. The Mariners now have even more payroll and 40 man roster flexibility as the offseason is about to start. The Mariners should be in the market for an outfielder going forward and now without Bauers, the Mariners should be ready to go get that improvement in the outfield.