Mariners sign Mitch Garver to a deal

The Seattle Mariners are making moves, having agreed to a two-year, $24 million deal with veteran free agent Mitch Garver. While the club has not yet confirmed the deal and will be awaiting a physical, the contract is expected to become official in the new year. The addition of Garver, who will turn 33 on Jan. 15, highlights the team’s offseason strategy to pivot towards a contact-prone offense while also dealing with significant turnover in the roster. The move also reflects the Mariners’ efforts to free up additional funds to reinforce their lineup.

Garver, known for his right-handed hitting, primarily played as a catcher earlier in his career. However, due to injury setbacks, the Mariners plan to utilize him primarily as their designated hitter moving forward, also providing backup for Cal Raleigh behind the plate. Despite facing injuries and being relegated to the role of a subordinate to All-Star Jonah Heim last season, Garver continued to make significant contributions, including a go-ahead, seventh-inning single in Game 5 of the Fall Classic. However, the seasoned player’s career has been punctuated by injuries, including a left knee sprain early in the 2023 season and right forearm flexor tendon surgery in July 2022.

Notably, Garver’s best season was in 2019 with the Twins, where he won the AL Silver Slugger Award at catcher after posting 31 homers and a .995 OPS. Despite a career 25.6% strikeout rate, there are underlying metrics that suggest he is among the game’s more disciplined hitters, with a chase rate that ranked in the 98th percentile and a walk rate in the 90th percentile, according to Statcast. The deal with the Mariners marks a significant pay raise for Garver compared to his previous earnings and also represents the team’s first multi-year deal for a free-agent hitter under the tenure of president of baseball operations, Jerry Dipoto.

The acquisition of Garver indicates that the Mariners are not done making moves this offseason, with scope for one or two more offensive additions. This signing also potentially removes the team from the market for sluggers Jorge Soler and J.D. Martinez but leaves them with notable needs in the corner outfield and additional maneuvering space within their current payroll of around $130 million. As the deal progresses towards becoming official, the Mariners are poised to add even more depth to their lineup for the upcoming season.


Hot News