Mitch Garver is providing a two-pronged improvement with move to backup catcher

The Mariners have struggled with their backup catcher all season. The solution ended up being to move someone there who could already do the job in Mitch Garver
Seattle Mariners v Kansas City Royals
Seattle Mariners v Kansas City Royals / Ed Zurga/GettyImages

So far in 2024, the Mariners have been struggling with the backup catcher position. It was a lot of fun when Tom Murphy was here (and healthy) in the past, but he left this offseason on a deal with the Giants. There was some talk that the team was going to see Blake Hunt, possibly, but after acquiring Seby Zavala in the Sewald deal, he ended up being the answer for the better part of games played so far in 2024.

Check that. Not the answer, cause his play has been anything but positive. In 17 games, Zavala has hit .158/.200/.289 with one homer and a 42 OPS+. That's terrible, especially when he was playing below average defense behind the plate. So, what can the Mariners do about their backup catcher position?

Well, it turns out that the answer was already on the roster. Mitch Garver has recently taken on the role, and it seems to have done more than just improve the Mariners backup catcher position. It's also been the move that has helped Garver to heat up and start hitting better again.

Mitch Garver at backup Catcher is solving two problems at once

The Mariners have put Garver behind the plate three times in the last 11 games, catching whenever George Kirby is on the mound. Over that time frame, he is hitting .219/.359/.500 with five XBH and nine RBI. Sure, you don't really want a .219 BA, but if you are going to get a near .850 OPS from them, it's a good number to have.

Think about it this way, too. If Garver starts hitting better, it's not just the backup catcher position that is improving. It's the DH as well, where Garver normally plays. Maybe it's moving Haniger into the DH spot when Garver catches and giving Cal true days off, which in turn improves the outfield defense becoming a tertiary benefit to this move. If Garver can actually be the backup catcher and have his bat heat up, it makes this team so much better.

It does have to be noted that he doesn't have a hit while catching, but if he keeps hitting with that slash line, it's going to come. It also means that he is hitting incredibly well as the DH during that time, going 7 for 23 with six walks, two homers, and three doubles.

It comes at a great time as well, with Ty France going down with the heel fracture, with a timetable that is unknown for his return. If we can start seeing glimpses and flashes of the dangerous Garver, this team has just solved a couple of its hitting issues in one fell swoop.