With new acquisition Carlos Santana playing well (.789 OPS) since joining the Mariners on June 28th, Kyle Lewis back in the lineup (playing right field instead of his previously expected long-term stay at DH), and Mitch Haniger slated to return at the end of July, it appears the designated hitter spot in Seattle is officially back in full rotational mode.
As the Seattle Mariners enter the second half of their season, some key players may see time at new positions in order to give the team more lineup flexibility.
Lewis made his first appearance in the outfield this season in last night’s game, and Haniger will get work in the outfield during his rehab stint in Everett, but both players’ injury histories will require them to see 1-2 days at DH each every week. The Mariners likely won’t want to bench Santana on every one of those days, so it’s possible we’ll see every day first baseman Ty France move to second base on occasion once Haniger returns.
France played 153+ innings at second base in 2021, making two errors in 72 chances in the field. He’s not as laterally quick as current second basemen Adam Frazier, Dylan Moore, and Abraham Toro, but France’s upbringing as an infielder with the Padres and experience at second base at the beginning of last season should be enough preparation for him to transition smoothly if needed.
Frazier has been hot (he’s currently on a 9-game hitting streak), but his overall production this season suggests he’ll fall back to Earth soon; when that happens, he won’t merit consistent playing time over the likes of Santana, Lewis, and Haniger.
Consequently, except for the rare days any of those three receive a day off, it’s possible the Mariners’ All-Star first baseman will soon be shifting one spot over on the right side of the infield as Seattle aims to continue its playoff push.