Evan White's Return and Finding his swing would be huge lift to Mariners in 2023
Evan White has had a rough time early in his Mariners career as a first baseman hitting just .165 with a .544 OPS in his short time in the majors. He also has been hindered by a sports hernia injury and surgery which kept him out for most of 2022 and 2021. White's defense has been well known considering he won an AL Gold Glove in 2020 for his stellar defense in a shortened season. If his bat can ever match his defense, the Mariners could have a true star in the making.
Ty France is the Mariners current first baseman but has also been their DH at times. Evan White is the better fielder of the two, as his career defensive WAR is 0.5, whereas France's is -1.3 in Seattle. Although, it is important to note France is a much better hitter than White as France's career batting average is .279, with a .785 OPS, and 8.3 offensive WAR. Which is why France is likely to be the Mariners starting first baseman instead of DH.
However, if White does figure out things at the plate it could be a major lift for the Mariners. Since then the Mariners could play White at first base full-time and move France to DH. With France at DH, he could focus all of his attention on his strength of the offense, rather than have to stress about his arguable weakness, which is his defense.
Critics have labeled Evan White as a bust because he has not lived up to his 6-year, $24 million contract extension. It is unlikely though the Mariners front office ever envisioned their young star prospect would struggle at the plate in majors or suffer the severe injuries White has.
They know who they have in Evan White and now he appears to be fully healthy going into Spring Training with a chance to make the big league roster once again. Hopefully, Evan White can prove his doubters wrong, make the major league roster, and begin to live up to the potential the Mariners saw in him.