Given their expected roster congestion, his lack of minor-league options and his inability to turn potential into production, Jake Bauers wasn’t expected to remain with the Mariners through the offseason.
On Wednesday, the Mariners announced that the versatile Bauers, who can play first base and both corner outfield positions, had cleared waivers and was outrighted to Class AAA Tacoma.
It was another roster move to open more spaces on their 40-man roster before the World Series ends and six players on the 60-day injured list must be re-added. The Mariners now have 36 players on the 40-man roster.
Bauers, 26, was acquired from Cleveland in a trade on June 19 for a player to be named later. That player was minor-league pitching prospect Damon Casetta-Stubbs.
Bauers appeared in 72 games for Seattle, posting a .220/.297/.275 slash line with four doubles, two homers, 13 RBI, 18 walks and 51 strikeouts.
On Sept. 19 at Kansas City, his 460-foot home run off Jackson Kowar was the farthest home run hit by a Mariners left-handed batter in the Statcast era (since 2015).
Given his time spent in the minor leagues, Bauers can become a minor-league free agent after the World Series ends. He is expected to accept free agency and look for his best opportunity to make a MLB roster.
A team source said it was made clear to Bauers that the organization would like to bring him back for the 2022 season on a minor-league contract. The Mariners coaching staff believed that the swing and approach changes Bauers worked on with hitting coaches Tim Laker and Jaret DeHart were starting to tap into the power and consistency that had been expected when he was a top-100 prospect in 2017-18.
Bauers was originally selected in the seventh round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of Marina High School in Huntington Beach, California.
He was sent to the Rays in 2014 in a three-team trade and made his MLB debut on June 7, 2018 vs. the Mariners at Tropicana Field. In 328 Major League games with Tampa Bay (2018), Cleveland (2019, ’21) and Seattle (2021), he hit .213 (208 for 977) with 121 runs, 45 doubles, 3 triples, 27 home runs, 110 RBI, 15 stolen bases and 129 walks.