When Harry met Raleigh: A Future Mariners Dynamic Duo

No, this isn't some odd movie sequel. Let's look at the Mariners' backstop position, present and future, with Cal Raleigh and Harry Ford.
San Francisco Giants v Seattle Mariners
San Francisco Giants v Seattle Mariners / John E. Moore III/GettyImages

It's a hot August night in Anaheim in 2025. The lowly Angels are death-marching to another 4th place 72 win season, and with Mike Trout in a Dodgers uniform, their best player is Anthony Ren… I'm sorry, I couldn't write that down in my fictional universe, it's too ridiculous.

While the Angels are struggling, the Mariners are thriving. In the 7th inning of a 1 run ballgame, a crack of the bat from Noah Shanuel sneaks by 2025 all-star Jorge Polanco into right field. Baseball’s best friend, Anthony Rendon, is hurdling home from 2nd base, believing he's about to tie the game. Unfortunately for him, right fielder Harry Ford has other plans. Charging in and up with the ball, rookie phenom shows his catcher’s cannon, throwing something out of Star Wars to the best catcher in baseball, Cal Raleigh, who tags Rendon out by 10 feet. 

Harry Ford and Cal Raleigh could form an incredible tandem as catchers

The Mariners are well on their way to another division title, and the future is bright with Cal Raleigh and Harry Ford owning the Seattle backstop. While much of what I just described feels like a fairytale, from what we saw from Ford and Raleigh this spring, the future is real and not too far away.

Harry Ford only saw 11 AB’s this spring for Seattle, and while his bat spoke for itself last year in the World Baseball Classic, it was his arm that stood out in Peoria.

Multiple times opposing teams tried to run on the young catcher, and multiple times were the runners gunned down by Ford's absolute cannon of an arm. In one of Ford's three caught stealings, he showed a ridiculous 1.87 pop time (for context, MLB average is 2.00). It was a successful spring for the top 3 prospect in the Mariners system even though he didn't get one last chance to show off in the rained out Breakout game. While he will start the year in AA Arkansas, it's not too early to start discussing his future and fit with this ballclub.

This in no way means that Cal Raleigh should be worried. The Big Dumper has been one of the best players in baseball this spring, let alone catchers. The slugger is hitting .400 in 20 AB’s with 3 HR’s and 10 RBI’s. Heck, he even has a stolen base! It is shaping up to be a special year for Cal, and his value to this team brings up questions about his durability.

Never had Cal been a guy with durability concerns, but I do have concerns about how much time he is spending behind the backstop in his first couple of seasons. Catching is a grind, and a job that Cal does really well, but that bat needs to find ways to stay in the lineup, while Cal isn't being asked to catch 145 games. 

Heading into 2025, the Mariners could have one of the most talented duo catchers that baseball has seen in decades. By 2025, I expect Ford will be on the Opening Day roster and will be Cal’s backup catcher. The plan would likely be to have Ford behind the dish two days a week. 

This keeps him involved with the pitching staff, and creates a depth and good problem of whether the Mariners should rest Cal Raleigh or Mitch Garver. Shaving 2 weeks off of Cal or Mitch’s workload could pay huge dividends come September and October. We've seen what those two are capable of doing when healthy in the playoffs.

Now Harry Ford should not be called up if he's only gonna play 2 days a week. This summer will be critical to Ford's future because he's likely going to do one of two things, get traded or start learning other positions.

I'm the last person in the world who wants to see Ford traded, but if the Mariners are in the hunt at the trade deadline, and a potential star addition could be had, you know Ford's name will be heavily discussed. 

If Ford does not end up getting traded, then I think it's time to see how versatile he can be. The Mariners have short and long-term questions at 3rd base and the corner outfield spots. Getting Ford two starts a week at catcher and a couple of starts and or appearances in either of those spots creates an incredibly valuable player to this team, as long as the bat keeps developing.

I'd be surprised if Ford saw MLB action this year, but he's a name we should be keeping a close eye on in AA during the 2024 season. Cal Raleigh and Harry Ford could become one of the most talented and unique partnerships in baseball in 2025.