Seattle Mariners Offseason Plan – If The M’s Had The Rays’ Budget

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Sep 25, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves center fielder

Emilio Bonifacio

(1) lines out to center field in the fifth inning of their game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Turner Field. The Pirates won 10-1. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Mariners sign Emilio Bonifacio for two years, $5 million.

Bonifacio started off 2014 on a tear, looking like a shrewd minor pickup for the Chicago Cubs. He was hitting better than ever while providing his typical defensive value. He’s even good on the bases! But the facade was simply too much to keep up, as Bonifacio just sucks at hitting. Even with a .333 BABIP in Chicago, his wRC+ as a Cub ended up at 91. He was shipped to Atlanta, where he hit .212/.273/.280 before hitting free agency.

So what do the Mariners want from him? A true utility player, basically. Bonifacio is going to cost more than an Endy Chavez, but that’s because he’s better. Last year, despite his Atlanta meltdown, Bonifacio was a 2.1 WAR player. This was due to a one-year defensive bump, but it shows what he’s capable of doing in an up year. And the M’s aren’t paying him to repeat his 2014 in the field: they’re only giving him $2.5 million a year, which values him as a sub-one win player.

While odds are Bonifacio doesn’t add a ton of value, there’s always the chance that he does. He’s always been capable of toeing the line between starter and bench guy, which makes him a good fit for the fourth outfielder/backup infielder spot in Seattle. He’s valuable depth, and his lack of offensive value should keep him cheap. But the Mariners still only have Saunders as a starting outfielder, so they’re going to have to get busy in order to keep Bonifacio from an everyday role.