Seafarers who could get contract extensions

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This story was taken from Daniel Kramer’s newsletter Mariners Beat. To read the full newsletter, click here. and Subscribe to to get it in your inbox regularly.

SEATTLE — Luis Castillo’s brief two months with the Mariners was perhaps a microcosm of where the Seattle front office stands and how far it’s come as it began a massive roster overhaul starting in 2019.

“I think that’s what we came up with when we went through the early stages of [the rebuild]said Jerry Dipoto, Mariners president of baseball operations. “It was about building a young, strong foundation that we can grow on and then go out and attract influential players who could come here and take us to the next level. And I think it’s happening. It’s happening to us right now. It will continue to happen for us.”

With the support of the Mariners’ chairman and executive general partner, John Stanton, Dipoto and assistant GM Justin Hollander always said that the Mariners would do it when the time came, and it was a watershed year in that regard.

This spending has also been on talent acquired and nurtured by the club, with Robbie Ray’s free-agent deal last off-season being the only one among players not yet under the club’s control. Castillo joined Julio Rodríguez, JP Crawford and Andrés Muñoz among the players to receive long-term extensions over the past 12 months and Marco Gonzales also fills that bill with a deal he signed in 2020.

“It’s incredibly gratifying to know that we have the support of the owners at this point,” said Dipoto. “We were able to make agreements with Luis, with Robbie Ray, with Julio and with JP to keep that talent here in Seattle and keep adding it, rather than just sit back and see what we’ve done because we haven’t done anything yet.” All we’ve done is create a pool of talent to move forward with.”

Dipoto called those deals “landmark events” in Seattle’s long-term roster trajectory, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see the front office trying to lock in more homegrown talent. Here’s a look at other renewal contenders on the active roster, listed in order of free-agency potential:

RF Mitch Haniger
Free agent: 2023
At this point, an extension would likely only come in the form of a qualifying offer this off-season given Haniger’s close relationship with free agency. The QO is worth the average salary of MLB’s 125 highest-paid players and is likely to total nearly $19 million next season, more than Haniger’s total earnings in his six-year career. Given the uncertainty of Seattle’s outfield with Kyle Lewis’ long-term health and this season’s struggles of Jarred Kelenic and Jesse Winker to bring the veteran back with a shorter but more expensive deal that would allow him to restore his worth (and health) may make sense for both sides.

1B Ty France
Free agent: 2026
Seattle analysts loved France well before it acquired it in a 2020 deal that Dipoto has called one of the defining moments of Reconstruction. With an everyday performance, France has blossomed into an all-star this year while playing above-average defensively. He also has a team-first attitude, especially with the move to third base where Eugenio Suárez is out, and he’s taken on more of a leadership role. France, which is a contact-over-power hitter, also wouldn’t cost as much as Matt Olson ($168m), Freddie Freeman ($160m) or Paul Goldschmidt ($130m).

SP Logan Gilbert
Free agent: 2028
The towering right-hander was a workhorse in his first full MLB season, leading the league in 31 starts and the team in 177 2/3 innings. He’s had a few bumps this year as he first tackled the rigors of the six-month stretch, but he’s also shown stretches full of dominance, winning the AL Pitcher of the Month award in April. Starting pitchers with a five-pitch mix, elite speed – and most importantly, acumen – don’t grow on trees, and the 24-year-old has already shown great advantages over the long run.

C Cal Raleigh
Free agent: 2028
Despite what Raleigh has shown in the Minors, even he didn’t expect to lead all MLB catchers with a whopping 25 homers this year. Not only that, Raleigh has also been a key hitter for the Mariners that year, ranking third on the team behind Rodríguez and Suárez with 4.0 wins over backup, according to FanGraphs. For a position that has taken such a major collective slump in offensive production this decade, Raleigh has shone while taking on a more prominent role in overseeing a diverse pitching team.

SP George Kirby
Free agent: 2029
Like Gilbert, Kirby has already wowed in a small career rehearsal with the ability to throw strikes, install new courts, and excel against some of the most intimidating opponents. He’s only 24 but has already shown he fits in and despite his rookie status, he’ll be a big part of the Mariners’ plans for the postseason if they win in this latest homestand. He’s the type of young pitcher that organizations build around.

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