Mariners' contact conundrum: Could Arkansas Travelers outfielder provide a solution?

The Mariners need more contact in their lineup. The solution could be sitting in Arkansas with one of the Travelers' outfielders.
Arkansas Travelers v Amarillo Sod Poodles
Arkansas Travelers v Amarillo Sod Poodles / John E. Moore III/GettyImages
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The Seattle Mariners are grappling with a significant strikeout problem, a narrative that has persisted over the past two years. Despite the front office's efforts to revamp the lineup and introduce players with a track record of contact ability, the 2024 offense remains a tale of ineptitude. The team consistently fields three players who rank in the American League's Top 15 for strikeouts, underscoring the severity of the issue. 

Player

Strikeouts

AL Ranking

Jorge Polanco

50

3-T

Cal Raleigh

46

13-T

Julio Rodriguez

46

13-T

Mitch Haniger

42

22-T

Mitch Garver

39

33-T

It is hard not to overreact (see Mariners X) and want massive lineup changes, but when you have many players not performing up to the backs of their baseball cards, you have to give them time to figure it out. However, there are options in the minor leagues that could bring more contact ability to the 26-man roster. Outfielder Spencer Packard is one such player. 

The Mariners should call up Spencer Packard

The 26-year-old is a little older, especially for Double-A, but he has a track record of high contact rates and tremendous on-base percentages (.393 in four minor league seasons). Packard is having another solid season for the Travelers, hitting the top of the lineup and slashing .311/.419/.408 across 27 games. 

Comparisons put Packard in the Ben Gamel, Jake Fraley zip code. He doesn't have the above-average speed those two possess, but his contact ability and gap-to-gap power align with those former Mariners. He doesn't have an elite tool, but you would call him a solid baseball player who can do a little of everything. Those guys are valuable, and we see that now with another similar player, Josh Rojas. 

The former Campbell Camel is ready for a promotion to Tacoma, as he's dominated the Texas League for two years. What does that mean for the big league team? Spencer Packard is a call away from T-Mobile Park and could help manager Scott Servais curb an alarming trend.