SEATTLE MARINERS

Mitch Haniger: Mariners want to have a team ‘that gets the city excited’

Mar 14, 2022, 12:00 PM

Mitch Haniger Mariners...

Mariners RF Mitch Haniger takes the field before an Oct. 2, 2021 game against the Angels. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Mariners entered the 2021 season with most eyes focused on the young guys, but one of the team’s longest-tenured players stole the spotlight, especially at the end of the year.

What Mariners’ Dipoto, Servais think about shift ban, other rule changes

That would be right fielder Mitch Haniger, who shined for Seattle after missing most of 2019 and all of 2020 due to injury.

Haniger, now 31, started in right field on opening day on April 1, 2021, which was his first MLB game since June 6, 2019. He stayed healthy and played in 157 of the Mariners’ 162 games last season, leading the team in home runs with 39 and finishing second with 100 RBIs.

Haniger slashed .253/.318/.486 and had some huge moments late in the year when Seattle was in the thick of the playoff race, including a go-ahead single in the Mariners’ second-to-last game of the year that kept the team’s playoff hopes alive going into the final day.

Haniger joined Seattle Sports’ The Mike Salk Show live from spring training on Monday and discussed baseball returning, his future and more. Here’s a look at what stood out.

Reaction to new CBA

Spring training started later than scheduled this year as MLB and the MLBPA struggled for months to agree to a new collective bargaining agreement. With the players locked out, it was unclear when baseball would return. The two sides finally came to an agreement last week and spring training officially started Monday, though some reported to camp earlier, such as Haniger.

What was his immediate reaction to the new deal?

“A little bit relieved,” he said. “I spent a lot of time on Zoom and phone calls and talking to teammates. And then just excited to get back and play baseball.”

“I think at the end of the day, we were just trying to do what’s best and get a fair deal for our players and for the future generations of our organization, the Players Association, and make sure everybody’s sticking together and remain strong,” he later added. “And I think we accomplished that.”

Keeping Seattle buzzing

With the Mariners in the race for a playoff berth, the city of Seattle and T-Mobile Park were electric last September and October. Salk wanted to know how Haniger and the Mariners can recapture that feeling over the course of an entire season.

“I think it’s going to be easy if we get 45,000 fans in the stands every night. That’s the goal,” Haniger said. “And obviously we want to put a product out on the field that gets the city excited and get everyone behind our backs. It’s a different ballgame playing at T-Mobile when the stands are packed and fans are into it. And they’ve had our support every year since I’ve been here and that was kind of the pinnacle of it that last weekend with the playoff hopes on the line.”

Haniger’s future

The Mariners have gradually gotten younger since the end of 2018, with the team rebuilding and acquiring young, talented prospects. But Haniger is entering the final year of his contract and was arguably the team’s best player in 2021. So what does his future hold?

Haniger has made it no secret his goal is to win. What role does that play in what’s next for No. 17?

“This offseason is far from being done,” Salk said as he began his question. “But how important are the moves for this offseason to you in terms of your future here in Seattle as you think about a contract down the road?”

“Definitely important. I mean, I want to win,” Haniger answered. “So free agency is looming and I hope this is the year we get to the playoffs and we win a World Series. That’s my whole focus is preparing every day to help my teammates get there and help myself play as best as I can to get us to the World Series.”

Listen to the full interview with Haniger at this link or in the player below.

More Mariners coverage from SeattleSports.com

2022 Mariners spring training radio schedule on Seattle Sports 710 AM
What stands out to Scott Servais as Mariners spring training opens
Servais: Robbie Ray’s first spring bullpen stopped Mariners camp
Drayer: All eyes now on Mariners OF – and Julio Rodríguez’s role in it
Jerry Dipoto Show: Post-lockout priorities, Julio, pitching plans

Brock and Salk podcast

Mariners Roof Report

Brought to you by
Sunny
High 86° | Low 59°
Roof is open
Astros at Mariners today at 6:40pm

Seattle Mariners

Seattle Mariners T-Mobile Park batter's eye...

Brent Stecker

Does Mariners’ T-Mobile Park need a change to attract hitters?

"I think that this is something that is fixable. There are elements to your ballpark that are not fixable," MLB Network's Jon Morosi said.

36 minutes ago

Seattle Mariners Houston Astros Trey Cabbage 2024...

Tim Booth

Astros shut out Mariners 3-0, move into virtual tie atop AL West

The Seattle Mariners mustered just four hits and lost their hold on first place in the AL West with a 3-0 loss to the Houston Astros.

15 hours ago

Seattle Mariners Bryan Woo Los Angeles Angels 2024 Getty 900...

Cameron Van Til

Servais explains Mariners’ rotation strategy for Astros series

Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais detailed why they plan to start Bryan Woo instead of Logan Gilbert in Sunday's series finale.

18 hours ago

Seattle Mariners Gabe Speier Kansas City Royals 2024...

Cameron Van Til

Key Mariners reliever returns, recent addition DFA’d

The Seattle Mariners activated left-handed reliever Gabe Speier from the injured list and designated reliever Mike Baumann for assignment.

20 hours ago

Seattle Mariners trade deadline Isaac Paredes Andrés Muñoz Logan Gilbert...

Brent Stecker

ESPN’s Passan: One hitter makes most sense for a Mariners trade

The MLB trade deadline market may be squished, but the Seattle Mariners may still be able to make a run at Tampa Bay slugger Isaac Paredes, says ESPN's Jeff Passan.

24 hours ago

Seattle Mariners J.P. Crawford...

SeattleSports.com Staff

4 Takes: Which Mariners hitter should you buy stock in for second half?

The Seattle Mariners' struggling offense features plenty of players performing well off previous seasons. We share our picks who will snap out of it in the second half.

1 day ago

Mitch Haniger: Mariners want to have a team ‘that gets the city excited’