Free Agent Target: Mitch Garver

The Mariners will need to be aggressive this offseason. The free agent bats are limited, but today we look at one of the more underrated bats from a divisional rival.
Division Series - Baltimore Orioles v Texas Rangers - Game Three
Division Series - Baltimore Orioles v Texas Rangers - Game Three / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

The Mariners face a very important offseason this winter. They made the playoffs in 2022 and followed it up with a pretty meh offseason with the highlight being adding Teoscar Hernandez. They followed that up with additions of Kolten Wong, A.J. Pollock and Tommy La Stella. For a team lacking a few impact bats, the trio added after Hernandez was pretty uninspiring.

The front office obviously wants to win, but they have a job to do this offseason and that job is to prove to Mariners fans and players alike that they are truly serious about acquiring the talent needed to do that. You don't need to spend $200 million dollars to sign 3 big bats, I don't think there are even 3 bats worth that much, but you need to acquire talent, in whatever avenue it takes.

The Mariners need to add at least 1 impact bat as well as replace the void that Teoscar Hernandez leaves in the lineup, after a disappointing year. I think that a bat that would add a lot of value to this Mariners lineup is Mitch Garver. Garver has spent the last 2 years in Texas, which was preceeded by 5 years in Minnesota.

Garver hasn't really been able to play a full season, as his season high was back in 2018 when he played in 102 games. But the 32-year-old catcher/DH, showed how much of an impact he can make, even with limited appearances. In 2019 with 359 plate appearances, he slashed .273/.365/.630 with 31 home runs on his way to earning a silver slugger award. He had a couple of average or disappointing years in 2021 and 2022, but broke out again in 2023 slashing .270/.370/.500 with 19 home runs and a 138 wRC+. He was worth 2.1 wins according to fWAR and ran an impressive 12.8% BB% and a 23.8% K%.

So how does Mitch Garver fit into this lineup, only playing 28 games at catcher in 2023 and spending a majority of it at DH. Well. honestly, it doesn't really matter, you get his bat in the lineup. If he becomes your primary DH, then that is a lot more production that you got there in 2023. If he can stay healthy and catch 30 games a year while DHing a majority of the other games, then thats great, Tom Murphy only played in 41 games at catcher this year. Heck, you can even give him a first base glove if Ty struggles and run him out there 15 times this year. Regardless, you need offense and Mitch Garver is one of the better bats available in a pretty weak free agent market. It doesn't really replace your need for a backup catcher as he would be at DH most days, so it still leaves the possibility of bringing back a Tom Murphy or acquiring some other catching depth.

Mitch Garver is an older free agent as he will turn 33 before the year starts, so this won't really be any sort of long-term commitment. But, being older and coming off of one of the better seasons of his career and most likely looking at his last chance for a bigger contract, I think it will take a little bit of financial buy-in from the Mariners. I think getting Garver to leave the Rangers for divisional rival, Seattle, would take something in the 2 or 3 years, maybe an option and somewhere in the $8-$12-million-dollar range could do it. There are some serious questions about his ability to play a full season because of injuries, and I think that will affect his market. But in a weak free agent class, his bat will be a valuable one that a lot of teams will look at.