Samuel Onofrio Haggerty
Height: 5'11" Weight: 175
Bats/Throws: Switch / Right
Born: 05/26/1994 in Phoenix, Arizona
Offseason home: Denver, Colorado
College: University of New Mexico
Acquired: Claimed on waivers from the New York Mets (01/10/2020)
MLB Debut: 09/14/2009
Free Agent after: 2025 season
Haggerty hasn't gotten to play very much here in the early part of the season, yet he's been a key factor when he gets in there. Not only is he raring to go if he comes in as a pinch-runner—and let's once more point out his skill on the basepaths, you won't see a better slide into second base than you get from Sam—but he's delivered huge hits. In Baltimore he singled and scored the Mariners' first run in a come-from-behind win, then in the next game cranked a rare home run that was just the second in Mariner history (after Griffey Jr.) to reach the street beyond the right-field gate at Oriole Park to break a 4-4 tie in the late innings. In Boston, after stealing a key base and scoring on an error to tie the game, he belted a double in the tenth to plate the go-ahead run. Haggerty boosters are hoping to see Sam get some starts at second base to get him some more ABs and more chances to show off that great feet-first slide, especially while Dylan Moore continues to scuffle at the plate.
No one paid much attention to the line on the transactions page when this switch-hitting infielder was claimed off the waiver wire after the 2019 season, but you might want to sit up and take notice now. Haggerty started his pro career in Cleveland's organization, but despite exceptional on-base numbers and stellar baserunning, he didn't hit much so the Indians deemed him expendable and traded him to the Mets for next-to-nothing. The Mets didn't respect his abilities that much either, despite a nice performance at three of their minor-league levels that year, and put him on release waivers. Thankfully, Seattle GM Jerry Dipoto thought he was worth a look and snagged Haggerty for the Mariners.
With manager Scott Servais' penchant for overstuffing his bullpen, it took a while for Haggerty to get a shot to play, but the Mariners finally promoted him to the active roster last August and he immediately produced. His defensive versatility is an asset too—he can play six positions capably, with the most experience in the middle infield. The strongest part of his game might be baserunning; not only does he have exceptional footspeed, he also has one of the best slide techniques of anyone playing now. Check it out next time he steals a bag—it's short, quick, and gets him back to a standing position right away in case of errant throws. It's a small thing, but with so many players sloppily diving headlong from eight feet away and struggling to either stay on the base after they get there or keep from hurting themselves and getting spiked, it's refreshing to see someone slide with such fundamental elegance.