Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Mariners Tender Contracts to Three Players

The Seattle Mariners have three arbitration-eligible players: outfielder Mitch Haniger, catcher Tom Murphy, and shortstop J.P. Crawford. All three were tendered contracts before the 5 p.m. December 2nd deadline.

Mitch Haniger has had a rough go of it since June 2019 when a foul ball ruptured a testicle while he was batting. Since then he has had three surgeries (not all relating to the ruptured family jewels), but Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto told Greg Johns of MLB.com in late September that he fully expects Haniger to be starting in right field on 2021 Opening Day.

In his three seasons with the Mariners from 2017-2019, Haniger has been good. In 316 games he has slashed .271/.351/.486 with a .838 OPS. Among all outfielders over that period, Haniger is 22nd overall in OPS and tied with Starling Marte for 25th overall in FanGraphs WAR with 8.1. However, injuries have hindered Haniger’s playing time during that time, appearing in only 316 games over those three years, which is 80th out of 102 qualified outfielders.

The decision to tender Haniger a contract was something of a no-brainer, but with the emergence of 2020 AL Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis and two Baseball America Top 10 2020 prospects in Julio Y. Rodriguez (6) and Jarred Kelenic (9), both outfielders, nipping at the Major Leagues, it’s possible Haniger is being tendered a contract to just to be traded by the Mariners down the road.

Tom Murphy had limited chances and success in the Majors until he arrived in Seattle in 2019, slashing .273/.324/.535 to the tune of 126 weighted runs created plus (wRC+) and 3.2 fWAR. While 2019 was an objectively good bounce-back year for Murphy, getting back to the flashes he showed in 2016 for the Rockies, it is unknown how he will fare in 2021. Murphy missed all of the shortened 2020 season with a broken left foot, but the Mariners hope he can split duties with Luis Torrens behind the plate and get back to his 2019 form which saw him take 3rd overall in wRC+ and OPS for catchers with at least 200 plate appearances.

J.P. Crawford is coming off a season that saw him win his first Gold Glove award. While his offense does leave some to be desired, he is a perfectly serviceable shortstop. He ranked second to last in isolated power (ISO) among shortstops in 2020 with a dreadful .083, almost half of his .145 ISO in 2019. Still, he’s been essentially what the Mariners expected when they acquired him from Philadelphia in December of 2018. Mostly, Crawford is a serviceable and relatively cheap place holder at shortstop while the Mariners rebuild continues and shortstop prospect Noelvi Marte approaches his first full minor league season.

The Mariners will have a couple of months to reach an agreement with these players. If an agreement cannot be reached, the club and the player will go into arbitration which will be held between February 1-19.

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.