Tommy La Stella's foray into free agency as short-lived was he found a home for 2023 on Thursday. The veteran infielder agreed to a one-year deal with the Seattle Mariners, per the team's social media account.
Seattle Mariners add former SF Giants infielder on a guaranteed pact
San Francisco designated La Stella for assignment after announcing Taylor Rogers' three-year, $33 million pact at the end of December. The left-handed bat is owed $11.5 million with a $6.25 million cap hit next season, so it was no surprise to see that he cleared waivers and became a free agent.
The Mariners will be on the hook for the league minimum with La Stella. With that being said, it is a minor surprise to see that the 33-year-old landed a guaranteed contract.
The Giants signed him to a three-year, $18.75 million contract prior to the 2021 season and that quickly has become one of the worst moves by the front office in the past couple of years. Though, La Stella's subpar performance could be due in part to injuries.
The veteran sustained a hamstring strain early in 2021 that put him on the shelf for a significant amount of time that season. He underwent surgery on both of his Achilles tendons last winter and was limited to less than 80 innings in the field.
When he was healthy, La Stella spent much of the season as the team's designated hitter. That is a tough role for a player who was expected to provide some coverage in the field.
The left-handed bat never found a groove with the Giants as he slashed .245/.297/.380 (86 OPS+) with just nine home runs, 41 RBI, and 43 runs in 437 plate appearances across two seasons. The Giants had hoped that he would give them leverage against right-handed pitching, but he posted a subpar .696 OPS against righties since the start of 2021.
La Stella was definitely in need of a change of scenery. He joins a Mariners team that went 90-72 and reached the playoffs for the first time in over two decades. Seattle has been busy this offseason, adding Kolten Wong and Teoscar Hernández in trades with the Milwaukee Brewers and Toronto Blue Jays, respectively. La Stella will join a crowded infield but he will bring a veteran presence to a team that is relatively young.