Mariners make surprising low-cost addition in free agency to bolster outfield

The Mariners have been looking for answers in their outfield all season, and have added another option in a low-cost addition via free agency
Seattle Mariners v Washington Nationals
Seattle Mariners v Washington Nationals / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

The Mariners have bounced around their outfielders this year, as we've seen Jonatan Clase come up a couple of times to fill in, but never staying long. The team sent him back to AAA, and it was originally noted that there wasn't a corresponding move that the team was making. That didn't last long, as it came out that the Mariners were signing Victor Robles to the team.

Now, it's important to notice that it says that they are signing him and not claiming him, as that plays a difference in the amount of money that the team will have to pay him. If they had claimed him, then they would be on the hook for the remainder of his salary. Instead, it turns into a prorated portion of the league minimum, which as Adam Jude notes, is only $740K.

This really does seem like a flier-style move by the Mariners, spending hardly anything to bring in someone who had success in 2023, but hasn't done more than steal a few bases in 2024. He's gone just 3-25 this season with only singles, but has five walks and four steals, while actually playing above-average defense.

If Robles can get back to any semblance of what he was doing in 2023 against lefties, then this is going to be a nice get for the Mariners. It was a small sample, but he hit .364/.447/.424 in 33 AB. In his career, he is .262/.353/.373, and the Mariners would take above-average defense with that line all day in a platoon option from Robles, especially at such a low cost.

Time will tell if it's a good signing for the Mariners, but it's nice to see them bringing in a defender with a history of decent platoon splits. Could this spell changes to the current construction of the outfield, and maybe less of Mitch Haniger? Or is it to be a platoon with Luke Raley, who is much better against righties? If it doesn't work, he won't stick around long. If it does, it's a great low-risk move for the Mariners.