The Mariners will be after a first baseman this offseason and have already shown interest in a few free agent names. Let’s look at the options starting with someone we already know.
Mariners first baseman Yonder Alonso had a career year last season, obliterating his previous career-high for home runs and setting new personal marks in RBIs, runs scored, and most ratios, excluding a torrid 47 game spell with the Cincinnati Reds back in 2011.
Alonso’s previous career high in home runs before last season was nine in his first season with the San Diego Padres. Last year, as an Oakland Athletic and a Mariner, he hit 28 on his way to his first All-Star season.
Alonso’s production dipped a bit after the All-Star Game last year and his OPS fell below .800 after he was traded to the Mariners, but he’s a veteran presence who, as long he keeps the ball in the air, will likely follow up 2017 with a solid season in 2018.
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Mariners manager Scott Servais used Alonso in a platoon role alongside Danny Valencia last year. It remains to be seen if Valencia will be back (unlikely) or if AAA star Dan Vogelbach can finally make the leap to the major leagues both the Cubs and the Mariners expected of him.
Alonso’s splits against right-handed pitching are encouraging. He slashed .282/.383/.517 against righties last season, and finished the season strong for Seattle, posting a 1.054 OPS in the 2017’s last 14 days.
He seems to enjoy working with Edgar Martinez, and if the Mariners can sign him and get him to work with Gar in the offseason, we could see more fly balls from Alonso and watch many of them sail over the fence.
Considering other free agent first basemen on the market who may be too expensive, like Carlos Santana, Alonso could bring more value than say, Mitch Moreland or Lucas Duda, who are all expected to sign with new teams this winter.