What if the Mariners signed Harrison Bader to a short-term contract in free agency?

Harrison Bader used to be really good at baseball, and it wasn't that long ago. Could the Mariners look to sign him to a one-year incentive-based deal in free agency to see what he can bring to the table?
Seattle Mariners v New York Yankees
Seattle Mariners v New York Yankees / Dustin Satloff/GettyImages

When you look at the Mariners outfield, there are way too many questions currently sitting there unanswered. Well, hold on, that could be phrased better. There are too many questions sitting there where the answers aren't good ones as it stands. Jarred Kelenic is still trying to prove himself, and Moore, Canzone, Haggerty, Marlowe, and Trammell aren't giving anyone the warm and fuzzies.

Although it isn't the big splash that we want, we still have to try and be realistic when it comes to the Mariners. If they are going to hand out another small deal like they did last year to AJ Pollock, what are the chances that they could do something like that again, only this time, to Harrison Bader? It would be for more money, but it's still worth thinking about.

If the Mariners are going to "cheap out" once again, Harrison Bader could be a good signing

Now, I don't know what Spotrac is thinking here on this one. They have him getting a 4YR/$60M deal. How can a guy who has posted WAR of 1.1 and 0.6 the last two seasons be projected for the same amount as Lourdes Gurriel Jr? Especially with how he played once he got to the Yankees. Missing over half the games doesn't help either.

If he can get a big deal, more power to him. However, I think if the Mariners can get him on a "prove it" deal, it could be a win-win. He's going to be 30, but has shown that he can hit for double-digit power and swipe the same amount of bags, all while playing really good defense. He could easily have another 4-5 strong years if he turns it around. Is it wild to predict a .250/.315/.440 season with over a 1.0 dWAR? I don't think so.

MLBTR has him at 2YR/$20M. What about making that second year a team option and upping it a bit to maybe 2YR/$24M? He does well, you get to keep him for a bargain. He struggles, and it was just another failed outfield experiment by the Mariners, but one where the original reward outweighs the risk. He's had 2.3, 3.4, and 3.8 WAR seasons in his career, so you know it's there.

Again, this isn't something that is at the top of my list of wants for the offseason. I want Gurriel and Lee, both. However, the Mariners largest FA offensive signing in Dipoto's history was AJ Pollock, so we have to remain realistic. If it ends up being Bader... well, it could be worse.