Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Mariners Avoid Arbitration with Mitch Haniger, One-Year $3.01MM

Fansided’s Robert Murray reported the afternoon of December 5th that the Mariners have reached an agreement with Mitch Haniger for one-year and $3.01MM to avoid arbitration. This is a $10,000 raise from Haniger’s pre-COVID prorated salary in 2020, a year in which Haniger did not play due to injury.

Although Haniger missed more than 60% of 2019 and all of 2020, the Mariners have a lot of reasons to be excited about avoiding arbitration with Haniger and only having to pay him a measly three million. Haniger’s last full year of playing in 2018 saw him slash .285/.366/.493 for a Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) of 137 and 4.5 fWAR. If Haniger can return even a fraction of that production in 2021, he will be worth what he is scheduled to make.

The projections for Haniger in 2021 are interesting to look at. FanGraphs Steamer projections currently project Haniger to have an On-Base + Slugging (OPS) percentage of .757, a wRC+ of 103, and 1.2 fWAR at the end of 2021. While those numbers are incredibly average, still if you believe the valuation for 1 fWAR is around $8MM then Haniger will still outperform what he is owed. Interestingly enough, Steamer is known to be much more optimistic than the FanGraphs ZIPS projections, and while the Mariners official 2021 ZIPS projections have not been released, Haniger in the current 2021 ZIPS projections fares much better than in Steamer. ZIPS projects Haniger in 2021 to record 135 fewer plate appearances than Steamer, but an OPS of .827 and 2.7 fWAR.

Still, these projections tend to be conservative and no one should be surprised if in 2021 Haniger returns to his 2018 form. He will be an integral piece of the Mariners outfield as Julio Y. Rodriguez and Jarred Kelenic take on what we all hope will be a full minor league baseball season. Mitch Haniger will reach free agency in 2023, so his next two years will be observed closely by the organization as the prospects reach the Majors and his role in the future takes shape.

Photo courtesy of the Getty Images

Garrett Allen

Garrett Allen is a recent college graduate from Valdosta State University and is now pursuing a Masters of Science in Strategic Sports Analytics at the California University of Pennsylvania. Born and raised in Georgia, he is an avid Braves fan and has a particular interest in prospect development.