Mariners Avoid Arbitration With Mitch Haniger
The Mariners have avoided going to an arbitration hearing with outfielder Mitch Haniger, per Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com relays that Haniger will earn a salary of $7.75MM this year, after he had filed at $8MM with the team filing at $6.71MM. (Twitter links)
This will be a significant raise for Haniger, effectively doubling his career earnings. After making around the league minimum for his first few seasons, like most players, he reached arbitration for the first time in 2020 and earned a salary of $3.01MM. Unfortunately, he missed all of that campaign due to the ruptured testicle he suffered in July of 2019.
Due to missing that whole season, he re-upped with the Mariners for the same salary in 2021 and had a tremendous bounceback season. In 157 games, he hit 39 home runs and posted an overall line of .253/.318/.485, good enough for a wRC+ of 120. Based on that excellent campaign, he will now bump his salary up to $7.75MM in his final arbitration year before reaching free agency this coming winter.
The Mariners seem well positioned to deal with an absence of Haniger next year, given the number of young outfield options on the roster. Jarred Kelenic debuted last year and seems ticketed for a lengthy showing this year. Jesse Winker was just acquired from the Reds and will still be around for 2023. 2020 Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis is still recovering from a torn meniscus but doesn’t seem too far away now. Then there’s Julio Rodriguez, widely considered one of the best prospects in baseball. He’s currently making a push to land a spot on the team’s Opening Day roster. Even if he isn’t with the club on day one, there seems to be little doubt that he’ll join the club at some point this year.
If Haniger does hit the open market after this season, he should be in high demand based on his excellent numbers at the plate. However, as something of a late bloomer, he’s scheduled to reach free agency at a relatively older age, as he’ll be turning 32 in December of this year. That could limit the length of the deals he is offered, though that could also increase the number of interested teams, as many clubs prefer to eschew long-term commitments these days.