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Mariners outright OF/1B Jake Bauers to Tacoma, free agency likely

More roster-clearing in anticipation of the Rule 5 Draft

Los Angeles Angels v Seattle Mariners
gonna tell my kids this was Darth Vader
Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

The Mariners continued their off-season roster cleanup today, outrighting “DH” Jake Bauers to Tacoma. Yes, that’s what he’s called on the transaction report. I think it’s his official positional designation, as that’s what he was listed as when coming over from Cleveland, although obviously we saw much more of an even split between the outfield and first base for Bauers in 2021.

That the Mariners were able to sneak the 26-year-old former top prospect through waivers tells you about all you need to know about Bauers’ season, in which he accumulated -.7 fWAR, the exact opposite of the .7 he put up in a partial season with Tampa Bay in 2018. In Seattle, Bauers was essentially the same player he was in Cleveland, only a little worse, walking slightly less—although still at a decent clip— while striking out a touch more, and hitting for virtually no power. In fact, my nickname for him was “no power Bauers,” which you can see from his spray chart here:

That is many balls not making it out of the shallow outfield. And these were the ones that were hits! Even though Bauers has good speed and runs the bases well, his defensive limitations are such that rostering such a low-power player just isn’t an efficient use of space. At age 26 and out of options, he remains a project, and one other teams apparently weren’t keen to snatch up on the waiver wire, either.

Like the other players outrighted to Tacoma who have the ability to do so, Bauers will likely elect free agency and search for new opportunities. It’s possible he returns to Seattle on a minor-league deal if he can’t find something more to his liking elsewhere, and per Divish, the Mariners would like to bring him back on such a deal.

In return for Bauers, the Mariners traded RHP Damon Casetta-Stubbs, their 2018 11th-rounder and a prep project arm from Vancouver, WA, to Cleveland. Casetta-Stubbs showed promise despite a challenging assignment to full-season Low-A ball in 2019, but took a step back with his command this year with Modesto, walking half as many batters (15%) as he struck out (30%). Cleveland sent him to the Arizona Fall League, where so far he’s pitched 3.2 innings, allowing no runs, striking out five and walking five.