The Mariners culled their roster of two players that showed early promise in 2019 and became expendable by the end of the season.
On Monday, the deadline to tender major-league contracts for club-controlled players on the 40-man roster, the Mariners declined to offer contracts to infielder Tim Beckham and outfielder Domingo Santana, both of whom were arbitration eligible.
The decision to “non-tender” Beckham was a given, because he’s serving an 80-game suspension for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs last season. Realistically, Beckham was a non-tender candidate before the positive test. He was going to make close to $3 million per arbitration projections, which is far too much for a player that is a defensive liability at most positions and a replacement-level hitter.
Seattle signed Beckham to be the shortstop until J.P. Crawford was ready to take over the role. Over the first 30 games, Beckham posted a .282/.352/.537 slash line with the nine doubles, six homers and 19 RBI. But he was abysmal defensively. When Crawford took over the job in early May, Beckham moved to a utility role, playing first base, second base, third base and some outfield. He had a .237/.293/.461 slash line with 21 doubles, a triple, 15 homers and 47 RBI over his final 88 games before being suspended.
The decision to non-tender Santana came after the Mariners couldn’t find a trade partner. They had shopped Santana at the trade deadline and after the season ended. But they didn’t find much interest in an outfielder that is a liability on defense and showed major regression at the plate by the end of the season.
Santana was one of Seattle’s best hitters early in the season. Over the first three months, he had a .278/.348/499 slash line with 18 doubles, a triple, 18 homers and 62 RBIs. In his final 37 games, Santana posted a .181/.275/.276 slash line with a two doubles, three homers, seven RBI and 54 strikeouts. He also battled elbow issues that kept him on the injured list for a month.
With Santana projected to make more than $4 million in arbitration and a slew of young outfielders in need of playing time, he became expendable.