The Mariners are a draft, develop, and trade-type organization. We've seen it when they shipped prospects to the Cincinnati Reds for Eugenio Suarez, Jesse Winker, and Luis Castillo in two separate deals. We've heard it time and time again straight from Jerry Dipoto's mouth. This front office would rather trade cost-controlled prospects to fill the roster. That's why the reported Christmas Eve signing of designated hitter, catcher, and World Series champion Mitch Garver was such a bombshell.
Not only did Dipoto dish out a two-year deal for Garver, but at $24M, it's the largest free agent position player contact in the Dipoto era. AJ Pollock claimed the title last year at just $7M. That is a significant boost in cost but also a possible impact, as Garver has performed above league average (123 wRC+) nearly every year since his debut in 2017.
Signing the 31-year-old slugger signals a shift from the organizational philosophy of using a rotating designated hitter. The plan was always to rotate the fourth outfielder on the roster and create rest days for veterans through the DH spot. The last full-time Mariner DH was Nelson Cruz. That was 2018, five years ago. Since the ageless wonder left Seattle, we've seen Mike Ford, Dylan Moore, Sam Haggerty, and Jesse Winker in the designated hitter spot. That's not going to cut it, and the Dipoto knows it. That's why he inked Garver to a multi-year deal: he saw an opportunity to go against the grain and get better. That's all we, as Mariner fans, ever wanted. Get better.