Multi-Year Mariners

Chone Figgins has been awful this year. He was also awful last year. The year before that he wasn’t awful, but he also wasn’t very good. That was in 2010, the first year of a 4 year – $36 million contract that he had signed with the Mariners that off season. Obviously that deal did not work out for the Mariners, as Figgins has been almost historically-terrible in the last 2 seasons, which lead me to wonder the results of other Mariners multi-year free agent signings that took place in the last several years. The only other one I could remember was Adrian Beltre, which turned out OK, but it turns out the overall results are not good.

Chone Figgins – Signed 4 years / $36 million for 2010-2013 – We’re now almost 3/4 of the way through the deal, and Figgins has been worth approximately -1.2 fWAR over those 3 seasons, while being paid for somewhere around 5-8 wins. When Figgins signed the deal, he was coming off a 6.9 fWAR season with the Angels, so the expectation that he would be good was not ridiculous. He was also going to be 32 during his first season with the Mariners though, so it was also not unreasonable to expect some decline. Not the sort of decline that happened though.

Miguel Olivo – Signed 2 years / $7 million for 2011-2012 – The Mariners are only paying Olivo $3.5 million a season, which isn’t very high for a decent starting catcher. Unfortunately for the Mariners, Olivo has not been a decent starting catcher. His OBP over his 2 years in Seattle is .236. There are 9 pitchers who have a higher OBP than that over the last 2 seasons (min 40 PA.) Olivo has been worth 0 fWAR for Seattle. The Mariners are only paying him for about 0.5-1 wins/season, but he hasn’t even provided that. Over his previous 2 seasons before signing the deal, Olivo was worth 4.6 fWAR with the Rockies and the Royals.

Carlos Silva – Signed 4 years / $48 million for 2008-2011 – This signing was made by the Mariners previous GM Bill Bavasi, and could very well have played a major role in Bavasi’s firing. When the deal was signed, Silva had a career K/9 under 4. That’s ridiculous. Unsurprisingly, the deal did not work out. Silva only made it though 2 seasons with Seattle before being exchanged for Milton Bradley. In his time with the Mariners, Silva threw 180.2 innings with a 6.81 ERA. Silva actually managed 1.3 fWAR over his time with the Mariners, but if you look at RA-9 wins, he actually cost the Mariners 1.9 wins.

Miguel Batista – Signed 3 years / $25 million for 2007-2009 – Batista was going into his age 36 season at the time of the signing, but he was coming off a 3 win season for the Diamondbacks. Batista was pretty average in his first year with the Mariners, putting up 2.4 fWAR in 193 innings in 2007. In 2008 he struggled and was moved to the bullpen, where he finished the season with over 6 BB/9 innings and -1.3 fWAR. In the final year of the deal, Batista pitched at replacement level out of the pen. Over the 3 years of the contract, Batista totaled 1.1 wins for $25 million.

Adrian Beltre – Signed 5 years / $64 million for 2005-2009 – The year before this deal was signed, Beltre hit 48 bombs and was worth 9.9 fWAR for the Dodgers. Obviously he wouldn’t reproduce those numbers, especially in Safeco, but the Mariners likely thought they were still getting a valuable player. Which they did end up getting, but one who somewhat underperformed at the plate, although Beltre largely made up for it with his defense. Over the 5 years with Seattle, Beltre was worth 16.7 fWAR, or $3.83 million/win. I’m not sure what the “market” value for WAR was back in 2005, because no one really cared about that sort of thing back then, but this contract definitely turned out the best of any of the 5 listed here.

So there you have it – the 5 most recent multi-year free agent signings made by the Mariners. One worked out for the most part, the other 4 turned out pretty terribly. Now, in this time the Mariners also re-signed Felix Hernandez, which has worked out terrifically, but I’m just focusing on free-agent signings here – which have definitely not been terrific for the Mariners.


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