Is now the time to try and extend Mariners' star catcher Cal Raleigh?

Cal Raleigh is one of the best catchers in Mariner's history. Should Seattle make him a Mariner for life?
Minnesota Twins v Seattle Mariners
Minnesota Twins v Seattle Mariners / Alika Jenner/GettyImages
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Cal Raleigh can already call himself a Mariners Legend. He represents more than just the stats on the field, or his antics in the dugout and clubhouse, Cal is a Mariner. He was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2018 MLB Draft out of Florida State University by the Mariners, and rose through the Minors and debuted with the Mariners in 2021. Raleigh is a home grown star in the making, something that has not been the case for the Mariners since Kyle Seager debuted in 2011.

Yes, Julio Rodriguez, Logan Gilbert, and George Kirby are all home-grown guys. But Cal Raleigh came before them, and the Mariners would not be the same without him. J.P. Crawford may be the team captain, but think of Cal Raleigh as the Vice President of the clubhouse. From managing the best pitching staff in baseball, to hitting walk off home runs, Cal's legacy in Seattle is cemented already, and he is still on his first contract. While he is not the perfect player, he is perfect for the Mariners. The time to sign him to a long term deal is now.

Cal Raleigh: On the field

Cal's stats on the field speak for themselves. Is he a batting average guy? No. Does he strikeout too much? Yes. But remember what position he plays: Catcher. How many catchers in baseball are as good offensively and defensively? Not too many. Cal's career slash line is sitting at .214/.288/.434 with an OPS+ of 105. He has also hit 74 home runs, and has driven in 202 runs over his career. Since the 2021 season, Cal is 3rd among catcher in home runs. He only trails Salvador Perez (KC) and Will Smith (LAD) over that span.

Cal has made his money in the 7th inning or later in 2024. His slash line jumps to .218/.333/.462/.795 with 5 home runs and 20 RBIs. In high leverage situations, Cal is slashing .286/.383/.653/.1.036 with 5 home runs and 26 RBIs. Cal has always had a knack for the big moments. Remember 2022, when he hit the walk-off home run to send the Mariners to their first playoff appearance in 21 years? How about the walk-off grand slam late last month? Or the walk-off hit against the Twins last week? He may not be a batting average guy, but he is the player I want to hit in a big spot.

Defensively, Cal has been outstanding. He leads all of baseball in "Catcher caught stealing" with 23 runners thrown out. 23! He catches the best pitching staff in baseball and plays almost every day. He plays hurt, he plays sick, he even wanted to play a game after he has emergency dental work done that same morning. They just do not make guys like Cal Raleigh anymore, and the Mariners found themselves a stud.