Mariners Sign Free Agent Mitch Garver

Mitch Garver
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

In the spirit of last-minute holiday shopping, the Seattle Mariners agreed to terms with free agent catcher Mitch Garver. The deal, which is reported to be worth $24 million over the next two years, came to fruition late Christmas Eve. The Mariners have not confirmed the deal, which is pending a physical. That order of business won’t take place until after the holiday season. It should keep the deal from becoming official until the new year. Garver is coming off a season in which he helped the Texas Rangers win the World Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. It is their first World Series title in franchise history.

First Big Offseason Move

The signing of Mitch Garver marks one of the first notable additions to the Mariners’ roster. The front office plans to emphasize a more contact-prone offense. Like many other teams, they feel a need to free up money to do so. The signing also takes place ahead of Garver’s 33rd birthday on January 15. He is viewed by the Mariners as their primary designated hitter going forward. He’ll also get the opportunity to back up Cal Raleigh behind the plate. In the little time he saw at catcher in 2023, Mitch Garver graded low behind the plate with a pop time in the 18th percentile and two blocks below average.

Garver served as a backup to All-Star Jonah Heim at catcher throughout the year. He was the exclusive DH for the club’s playoff run. In that stretch, he slashed .226/.317/.434 (.751 OPS) with three homers in 60 plate appearances, including the go-ahead, seventh-inning single in Game Five of the World Series. The Mariners’ first series against the Rangers will take place April 23–25 at Globe Life Field. Garver will most likely receive his World Series ring at some point during that series from his old manager Bruce Bochy.

Stocking Up Behind the Plate

The Mariners also added Seby Zevala from the Diamondbacks to their catching contingent. They obtained him in a trade that sent Eugenio Suárez to Arizona last month, and a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays for minor leaguer Blake Hunt on Nov. 6. That should fortify their depth at the position for 2024, an area that had far more uncertainty entering the winter. They also saw veteran Tom Murphy agree to a two-year, $8.25 million deal with the San Francisco Giants on Saturday.

 

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