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The Mariners sign 1B Tommy La Stella to a one-year contract

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The Mariners announced today that they have signed Tommy La Stella to a one-year contract.

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After five great seasons for Atlanta and the Cubs, though, Joe Maddon Paint it with one of the best titles everLa Stella became a great story later in his career with the 2019 Angels, earning his first-ever All-Star nod. Unfortunately, because baseball is rough, La Stella missed a ball off his leg and broke his leg, shortening his best season ever in the major leagues. He returned in the pandemic-shortened season with a solid campaign, securing a deal from the then-flopping Angels to the then-flying Athletics (I know! 2020! Doesn’t seem like that long ago!), which in turn earned him His first major contract, which was also Farhan Zaidi’s first major contract to be handed as GM to the Giants: three years for $18.75 million.

Unfortunately, things went downhill steeply at La Stella Bay. A left hamstring strain limited La Stella to fewer than 250 plate appearances in 2021, and problems with both his Achilles tendons, along with neck spasms, kept him out of the field for most of 2022, when he recorded fewer than 200 appearances. for the board. Rather than include him in a squad with several young prospects, the Giants opted for DFA in the off-season, meaning they were still on the hook for most of the $11.5 million he was owed—the Mariners would pay the La Stella league minimum.

Injuries are clearly a concern for the player, who, at 33, is on the “wrong” side of the aging curve. La Stella’s exit velocities (medium and max) are a big hit in 2022, which isn’t great news for a player who’s limited to a DH or 1B defensively, but considering he’s been playing with what probably felt like a piranha pinned to the back of his ankles, maybe we can cut some slack. 350 in 2022 (for context, J.P. Crawford chipped .376 in 2021), but in 2021 La Stella was hitting the ball well, averaging only a high-level out velocity 89, which would be higher than the league average (88.4). And again, it was while dealing with a nagging hamstring strain that’s been bothering him all season.

If he can get back to his form in 2019-20, the Mariners will have found a WRC+ 125-ish player on the cheap, who’s kind of a great replacement for the value Mitch Hanniger has provided, with no defense or teammates – although also without striking, as La Stella is known as one of the hardest hitters in the league, with a career K% of 11.1%. If he could even teach some of Seattle’s freedest folk how to make a tiny bit of his eye on the plate, it would be worth the signing price in and of itself.

To make room for La Stella on the 40-man roster, the Mariners assigned LHP Justus Sheffield to task. That cuts the 40-man pool’s left relievers down to just two: Gabe Speier and Brennan Bernadino, which seems risky, especially since non-40-man pool isn’t left-handed options. If you’re left-handed and can throw a baseball, maybe you’re heading to Peoria in February, chances are you don’t look half as bad.

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