The Mariners have signed great hitters in free agency who have helped instantly improve their lineup. These players helped make the Mariners contenders and had successful careers in Seattle. Here are the five best hitters the Mariners have signed in free agency:
#5 DH Nelson Cruz (AKA the Boomstick)
Nelson Cruz was a huge acquisition to the Mariners lineup and helped the team contend for a playoff spots in 2016 and 2018. In his first season in Seattle during the 2015 season, Cruz hit .302, with a .936 OPS, 44 HR, and 93 RBI. Along with making an All-Star Game appearance and winning a Silver Slugger award. The Mariners had their best offensive production in the Jerry Dipoto era in the 2016 season, because of Cruz's offensive output the following season in 2016. Cruz had team highs in HRs (43), RBI (105), and OPS (.915). At number five on this list, Cruz ranks among the Mariners best free agent signings, and finished his career in Seattle with 17.1 WAR, a .284 batting average, 163 HR, and 414 RBI.
# 4 Second Baseman Robinson Cano
Robinson Cano jumpstarted the Mariners rebuild in 2014, even though his contract came at an expensive price. The Mariners gave Cano a 10yr/$240 million contract, luring the 5-time Silver Slugger away from New York, in a move which stunned many at the time. His acquisition immediately helped make the Mariners playoff contenders, as Seattle would finish the 2014 season just one game out of the Wild Card race behind their division rivals the Oakland A's. In his time with the Mariners, Cano finished his career in Seattle with 23.5 WAR, a .296 batting average, 107 HR, and 411 RBI.
# 3 First Baseman John Olerud
A local player who played his college career at Washington State University, John Olerud helped the Mariners fill a big need at first base in 2000. After the Mariners traded their first baseman David Segui during the 1999 season, they had to look for other options in free agency. Olerud would lock down the first base position for four and a half seasons for the Mariners from 2000-2004. He won three Gold Gloves and made an appearance in the 2001 All-Star Game in Seattle. His defense and offensive production helped the Mariners to four consecutive 90+ win seasons including postseason appearances in 2000 and 2001 (when the Mariners won 116 games). Olerud finished his time in Seattle with 17.1 WAR, a .285 batting average, 72 HR, and 405 RBI.
#2 Second Baseman Bret Boone
At the time of Bret Boone's signing, no one could have predicted the success he would have as the Mariners new second baseman. Prior to the 2001 season, the most home runs Boone had hit in a single season was 24, and he had just two 20-homer seasons in his career up to that point. Boone would have a power surge during the 2001 season. Cracking 37 home runs, plating 141 RBI, and finishing with a .331 batting average, receiving his first career Silver Slugger award. Boone helped replace the power production which left the Mariners after Alex Rodriguez decided to leave the team in free agency prior to the 2001 season. Bret Boone's production at the plate helped power the Mariners historic 2001 season. He finished his career in Seattle with 19.2 WAR, a .277 batting average, 143 HR, and 535 RBI.
#1 OF Ichiro Suzuki
Ichiro is by the far the best free agent signing the Mariners have ever made. When Ichiro first signed with the Mariners in 2001, he was an unknown superstar in Japan who nobody had heard of. There were questions about whether Ichiro's game would translate to Major League Baseball given his unorthodox style of play. Ichiro would put all doubts to rest in his first big league season, smacking 242 hits, stealing 56 bases, hitting .350, and scoring 127 runs en route to winning Rookie of the Year, a Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, and AL MVP honors. Ichiro helped lead the Mariners to 116 wins in 2001 the best season in franchise history. He also would go on to have a decorated career in Seattle. In which he made 10 All-Star Game appearances, had 10 consecutive 200-hit seasons, won 10 Gold Gloves, three Silver Sluggers, broke the single season record for hits in a season (with 262 in 2004), and set the franchise record for career hits with 2,534. Ichiro finished his Mariners career with 56.4 WAR, a .321 batting average (best in franchise history), 1,181 runs scored, 633 RBI, and 438 stolen bases.