MLB Tonight ranks the Mariners as having the best duo at this position

One major offseason acquisition has put Seattle in the number one spot for this tricky role, ranked as the best of the best by MLB Tonight

Houston Astros v Seattle Mariners
Houston Astros v Seattle Mariners / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

When people think about the Mariners, they think about one of the greatest mascots in sports and an unfortunate postseason reputation. However, the tides have begun to change in recent years. With the struggles of the early 2010s well behind us, the team has emerged as a recurring formidable foe. Their pitching staff receives most of the love and the team was the only one to be top 5 by ERA for both starters and relievers in 2023, but there's another part of their team that has risen to the top.

The signing of Mitch Garver to a two-year, $24 million deal seeks to pair a dangerous bat with an already respected catcher in Cal Raleigh and the duo was recently ranked as the best catching tandem by MLB Tonight (Seattle discussion starts at 7:12).

The Mariners have the best catching tandem in all of baseball

While the broadcast discusses the incredible combined offensive upside of these two players, it's important to take a look at what they are capable of as individuals. Despite having played just two full seasons at the major league level, Raleigh has already established a reputation for being one of the most well-rounded backstops in the sport. At the plate, he slashed .232/.306/.456 for an OPS+ of 112 with 30 home runs and 23 doubles across 569 plate appearances. Behind the plate, he ranked in the top 15% of MLB for both runners caught stealing and pitch framing. He struggled with blocks but his holistic defensive profile was still strong, to say the least.

Garver, on the other hand, is a slightly more unique case. He spent twice as many games at DH than he did at catcher last year and only played for half of the season, but what he accomplished in that short timespan was impressive. He slashed .270/.370/.500 for an OPS+ of 134 over 344 plate appearances. Defensively, he didn't quite have enough reps to gather any meaningful data but Seattle plans to utilize his skills primarily at DH anyway.

Sure, using Garver as the second part of the catching tandem is sort of cheating since 1) Seby Zavala is ahead of him on the depth chart and 2) it's been stated that Garver's primary role will be as the designated hitter, not catching, but who cares? For a team whose best hope at DH was Mike Ford in 2023, seeing a legitimate premier bat in the position who can also strap on the pads if necessary is just one more thing to get excited about in 2024.