The Seattle Mariners made the first big move at the Baseball Winter Meetings today, agreeing to a deal with the Toronto Blue Jays involving All-Star Outfielder Teoscar Hernandez.
Hernandez, who just turned 30 in October, adds a big right-handed bat to the Ms lineup in exchange for a pair of pitchers, left handed reliever Erik Swanson and right handed prospect Adam Marko, one of Seattle’s top ten organizational prospects.
First, what does this do for the Mariners? Coming off their first postseason appearance in a generation, Seattle needed to address corner outfield as Mitch Haniger is a free agent and Jared Kelenic has yet to provide the consistency at the plate the team desires.
Hernandez, who enters his final year of arbitration eligibility, hit .267 with 25 home runs and 77 RBIs last season and was the only Outfielder in the American league to have at least 25 homers and 35 doubles. He has been an All-Star the last two season while roaming Right Field for Toronto.
This move makes sense for the Mariners for a couple of reasons:
First, Hernandez has a year of arbitration eligibility left meaning his salary will be more manageable than trying to sign a free agent, and you’re only committed for one year if the deal doesn’t work out.
Second, Hernandez has a good numbers at T-Mobile Field, granted 16 games is a small sample but still measurable. He has hit .357 with three homers and seven two-baggers in the spacious confines, not too shabby.
Third, Hernandez is consistent at the plate posting above .800 OPS in each of the last three years.
The Mariners give up a pair of relievers in the deal in Swanson and Macko.
Swanson has been reliable out of the pen even if he isn’t one of the main options. He went 3-2 with a 1.68 ERA and 70 Ks over 50 2/3 innings last season but seemed to drop off a bit as the postseason approached. He was used only once during the Ms run in the Wild Card Round and American league Division Series. Macko is still a prospect, and due to injury, only appeared in eight games in the Minors last season.
Mariner fans should be excited adding Hernandez to an outfield featuring Rookie of the Year and All-Star Julio Rodriguez .
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