The Mariners thought their playoff drought was going to finally end in 2017 with many, drastic changes to the team by General Manager, Jerry Dipoto. Like many recent seasons, they fought through the season but ultimately failed.
The team has tried to bolster their roster with medium sized trades for Yonder Alonso and Mike Leake, which did help improve the roster for the stretch run, but it still wasn’t enough to secure a playoff berth. The Mariners ended 2017 with a 78-84 record and 7 games back of a the Wild Card. Thus, we entered yet another postseason without Seattle involved.
First base has been a black hole for the Seattle Mariners since the days of a slugging Richie Sexson. We have seen Mike Carp, Corey Hart, Bryan LaHair, Mark Trumbo, as well as many others attempt to fill the void in Seattle, but none for a long duration. Enter Eric Hosmer. A career .284/.343/.439 hitter would provide much needed stability to the Seattle Mariners’ first base position and to the lineup as a whole. Sadly, Hosmer has been plagued by inconsistency. In 2013, it appeared he had turned a corner, accumulating a 3.5 bWAR. However in 2014 his bWAR dropped to 0.8. Hosmer rebounded in 2015 and finished with a solid 3.6 bWAR, only to see it nose dive in 2016 to a 1.0 bWAR. In line with this, his 2017 bWAR spiked to a career high of 4.0. If Hosmer is able to balance out this pattern of being a very good player every other year, he could easily be worth the money over a long-term contract. Hosmer is also a very capable base runner, especially considering the position he plays with 60 career stolen bases and 547 runs scored. The Mariners are baseball’s worst baserunning team, and adding Hosmer would improve that.
Eric Hosmer brings in a pretty solid bat, and brought in a Gold Glove award this year. Defensively, he is widely considered one of the premier gloves at the position. Defensive metrics may disagree, but these metrics are far from perfect, particularly in regard to first base. Things like picking low throws and footwork around the bag are very real attributes Eric Hosmer possesses and would definitely be an upgrade over Valencia and Alonso. Hosmer also brings in something I believe the Seattle Mariners are missing the most, and that is leadership. This team gets torn down, and traded more than any other team in Major League Baseball all thanks to Jerry Dipoto which makes building chemistry nearly impossible. Adding Eric Hosmer to the mix would help gel the Mariners together. He’d be the piece that finally gets them over the hump and back into playoff baseball.
Hosmer turned 28 this October and might be about to enter the prime of his career. Considering he set a career-best batting average, OBP, and slugging percentage this year, he’s probably looking for a very nice deal this off-season with a lot of years packed in. Something the Mariners can afford to give him. The Mariners are in need of a shot in the arm and twenty trades in an off-season won’t fix that. Bringing in a leader will.