Mariners: 3 Options to Improve Center Field Defense
The Tampa Bay Rays, a notoriously low-budget team, could be motivated to trade their most expensive player: center fielder Kevin Kiermaier.
Yes, Kevin Kiermaier is the highest-paid player on the Rays, but his contract is still quite reasonable: he will make $12 million in 2022, and has a club option for $13 million in 2023 before entering free agency in 2024.
Kiermaier, a three-time Gold Glove winner in center field (2015, 2016, 2020), has long been known as a fantastic defensive center fielder. Words can only tell so much of the story, so I encourage you to check out some of his best defensive highlights in the video below, showcasing his speed, athleticism, coordination, and stellar throwing arm:
While defense has always been Kevin Kiermaier’s calling card (8.9 DEF in 2021), his bat took a turn for the better last season, posting a slash line of .259/.328/.388. A left-handed hitter, Kiermaier actually had extremely even splits against right-handers and left-handers, so he is a player that could be comfortably inserted into the lineup on a regular basis.
If Kiermaier was able to produce quality at-bats in the 6-9 range of the Mariners’ batting order and play Gold Glove-caliber defense in center, all while playing every day, I’d opine that he would be well worth $12 million in 2022.