In the midst of an offseason that has bounced everywhere between a frenzied-free-agent-chase to weeks of napping on the couch, the Mariners have quietly bolstered the outer seams of their roster by bringing back a few friendly faces to the friendly confines of Safeco. First it was Willie Bloomquist (who admittedly doesn't quite fit this buy-low, hope-for-the-median model I'm describing here), then Franklin Gutierrez, Humberto Quintero, and finally, today, the Mariners have extended a minor-league contract and spring training invite to Endy Chavez. Yep. Endy's back.
Joel Sherman of the NY Post reports that Chavez will make $750K if he breaks camp with the team, with an additional $450k in incentives. He can opt out of the deal if he's not on the roster by June 1st, which is pretty standard but also hopefully not worth thinking about for anyone other than Endy Chavez.
We can analyze Endy all we want, but let's be honest: we know who the guy is. He can do everything kind-of-sort-of-passably, and is a perfectly capable backup on a deep team. The Mariners are also not incredibly deep. In addition, he's getting old, and between sprinkles of interesting moments, he doesn't walk and has difficulty hitting for any power. The Good? The Mariners add a little depth, bring experience to Spring Training (if that's even quantifiable), and didn't spend money.
There are reasons to be okay with this deal. Chavez was offered a minor league contract for spring training on a team that will probably be entering camp with only one and a half outfielders who have played a full season in the big leagues (depending on how you want to think about WFB, Morrison, and Hart), and could perhaps use a little bit of experience in the dugout, as well as depth for pending injury in the regular season, assuming Chavez gets stashed in Tacoma.
Reason to be iffy is, well, there are some other outfielders available, and who knows what 'veteran leadership' actually means. Also keep in mind that 'depth' was the exact plan last year, leading to Endy becoming a regular contributor after Michael Saunders ran into the wall early in the season and Eric Wedge continued fantasizing about veteran grit. Who knows what McClendon thinks about this. Who know's what's going to happen. Hopefully not that.
At the end of the day this doesn't change a ton for the Mariners, and we get a familiar face back in the dugout while rounding out the roster in a way we've come to expect from this club. Maybe we can worry later, but today I'll just stick with