There are a lot of unwritten rules in baseball, and their implicit lack of documentation can make it difficult to keep track of them all. But I’m pretty sure that Unwritten Rule #524 is “If Your Major League baseball team gives 100+ ABs to an outfield worth less than -0.5 fWAR, you are not allowed to claim to have a glut of outfield talent.”
That is only, of course, if you were to break Unwritten Rule #1.
Come on. Look at this haphazard polka band of players. You’ve got a 30-year-old “Veteran Presence” who hadn’t been seen since June of 2019, a former Rookie of the Year who was out most of the season, an escaped Yeti with a unproven record and suspect routes, a perfectly acceptable 26th man who becomes a distinctly unacceptable ninth man, and a guy who made his MLB debut after a decade in the minors.
And those are just the ones who had positive fWAR this year.
I suppose, if you want to get specific, the title of this article might more accurately be “The Mariners don’t have a logjam of good outfielders, please stop saying that.” Because they do, indeed, have a lot of outfielders. They just don’t have any that are a) durable b) proven or c) good. Steamer projects only one of the organization’s current outfielders to be an average player: Mitch Haniger, who is projected to be worth 2.2 fWAR in 146 games with a 115 wRC+.
It’s like looking for a new pair of jeans. You probably have a few pairs already - the ones you got when you were feeling ambitious, the ones you hate to wear, the ones with the a precipitous hole - but none of them are quite what you want - or need - for daily wear. So you go out and buy a better pair.
See where this heavy-handed metaphor is going? Just because the 2021 Mariners outfield helped the team to 90 wins on the back of Mitch Haniger, and Jake Fraley’s deal with the OBP devil doesn’t mean they can - or should - try to do so again. And before you say anything about not blocking a could-be star whose name rhymes with Coolio…no. That’s not how baseball teams work. Or at least it’s not how good baseball teams should function. Even Jarred Kelenic would agree. No GM has ever sighed and said “Alas, we simply have too many good players.” You make room for talent. You don’t leave gaping holes in anticipation of your Hopes and Dreams.
The org has more financial resources at their disposal than ever before, and the outfield is a distinct spot where the team can make a sizable upgrade. It doesn’t need to be a huge, splashy signing, nor should it cost a major prospect haul, but when there’s such conspicuous room for improvement, one would hope the team might see fit to, well, improve.