Mariners President of Baseball Operations, Jerry Dipoto, and General Manager, Justin Hollander, have work to do to close the gap with perennial division winner, Houston Astros. One of the areas of improvement is the lineup, where the offense struggled at times to generate runs and finished the year ranking 27th in batting average. Mariner brass has proven that the team needed an offensive boost in traditional metrics, such as batting average and on-base percentage. One hitter could address those two issues and add value to the 2023 roster: Brandon Drury.
Mariners Can Lengthen Lineup with Brandon Drury
Brandon Drury enjoyed a career year in 2022, amassing 2.6 WAR with Cincinnati and San Diego. Drury has always been an average ball player, but he turned a corner over the past few years by dedicating his approach to hitting the ball with authority. As a result, the past four years have the longtime utility man swinging with a 43.7% hard-hit rate. As we’ve seen with star centerfielder Julio Rodriguez, good things happen when players hit the ball hard.
One downside of his approach is a little additional swing and miss, but Scott Servais stuck with Eugenio Suarez last year, who has the same game. I’m not saying Drury is Suarez; there is only one, Mr. Good Vibes Only, but there will be home runs and strikeouts. Last season, he hammered 28 home runs and racked up 126 strikeouts but still managed to get on base at a .320 clip. That would give the 7-year veteran the sixth-best OBP on this team.
Also, Drury can handle second base, third base, and corner outfield spots. In recent years, the Mariners have leaned into positional versatility as a core concept (see Haggerty, Sam). If Dipoto went out and paid up for the 30-year-old utilityman, he would give Servais another interchangeable piece with an intriguing skill set.
The cost wouldn’t be too prohibitive, and the Mariners should sign him to a 3-year $33M contract
Last year, leadership went out and traded for Adam Frazier, a player with a similar defensive profile without the power profile. With the offense needing plenty, the time is now to grab a Silver Slugger with a little more thunder in his bat.