Mariners Trade-a-Day: It’s Time to Say Goodbye to Andrew Romine
By Ty Gonzalez
Andrew Romine is a solid utility defender. He is also, statistically, one of the worst hitters in Major League Baseball.
A playoff contender such as the Mariners can ill-afford having a bat worth 10 wRC+ on their roster. No matter how much he helps you in the field, Romine has hurt this team offensively.
Looking back on the Wednesday’s walk-off win versus the Angels, we all forget an absolutely infuriating moment. The Mariners had an opportunity to bust the game wide open, having the bases loaded with no outs.
Mike Zunino struck out and Andrew Romine stepped into the batter’s box. Now, Romine was not supposed to play that day, but Kyle Seager was a late scratch due to “personal issues.” With one out and the bases loaded, Romine rolled over on a pitch for an inning-ending double play.
This was the pinnacle of how bad Romine has been at the plate in 2018. Of players with at least 60 at-bats under their belt, Romine is the eighth worst in wRC+. I guess things could be worse, like having your starting right fielder post a 4 wRC+ (hi, Angels).
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All jokes aside, it’s coming to the point where Romine’s offensive incapabilities are outweighing his defensive value. It’s nice having a player be able to play any position on any given day, but if he’s hindering you this much at the plate then it’s just not worth it.
So, what should the Mariners do? After Taylor Motter was claimed by the Twins last month, the M’s are now without an internal utility replacement. They’ll have to dip into the trade market.
I have a few trade candidates in mind, and the first comes from a familiar trade partner.
Trade Proposal: Mariners acquire UTL Derek Dietrich and RHP Drew Steckenrider from Marlins for RHP Max Povse, RHP Randy Bell, and SS Bryson Brigman.
Dietrich brings you the defensive versatility of Romine, while also contributing one of the better bats in Miami’s lineup. Dietrich can play both corner outfield spots, as well as first, second, and third. He hasn’t played shortstop since High-A ball in the Rays’ system but could go there in a pinch.
At a wRC+ of 114, Dietrich fits right in between the offensive production numbers of Ryon Healy and Guillermo Heredia. Dietrich also gives you another left-handed bat to play with for matchup purposes, especially at first base.
The pop is there, too. Dietrich has eight dingers so far, which is two less than Andrew Romine has hit in his entire career.
Don’t overlook Drew Steckenrider’s inclusion in this trade. At 27-years-old, Steckenrider has solidified himself as a powerful lockdown reliever in this league. With a fastball that tops out at 97 MPH, Steckenrider would give the Mariners another flamethrower coming out of their ‘pen.
As of now, Steckenrider has posted an 11.61 K/9 over 31 innings of work. The downside is his walk-rate of 4.06, which lands him at 56th worst among Major League relievers this year. Still, Steckenrider gives you another intimidating hurler to join an already-stacked bullpen.
It’s hard to pinpoint compensation for a trade like this. At face value, one would think that acquiring a reliever and a utility player shouldn’t cost too much. But both players provide unique qualities, such as Steckenrider’s strikeout rate, and Dietrich’s offensive ability.
When the Marlins buy, they like to buy in bulk. The biggest piece going to Miami is neither pitcher but instead is Brigman. After struggling his first year-and-a-half in the Mariners’ system, Brigman has found his swing at High-A Modesto.
Currently leading the California League with a .336 batting average, Brigman would be a tough loss for the M’s dwindling farm system. However, it’s a necessary cost for where the Mariners want to go in 2018.
This is now the fourth time we have mentioned Max Povse in our Trade-a-Day series. That’s because he’s one of the most valuable pitchers in the Mariners’ farm system despite being mediocre at every level.
Povse has a large frame, the ability to post high strikeout numbers, and originally comes from a Braves system that produces quality pitching talent. There are reasons to like Povse from another front office’s standpoint.
To be fair, he’s been better since being demoted to AA Arkansas last month. Over five starts, Povse has posted a solid 3.51 xFIP and a K/9 just under 10.
But he’s an expendable piece for the Mariners, who probably don’t see any future value in Povse. Realistically speaking, the biggest contribution Povse will probably make as a Seattle Mariner is being a piece in acquiring Major League talents such as Steckenrider and Dietrich.
Bell, on the other hand, is simply no more than a throw-in. Honestly, this could be any low-tier pitcher in the Mariners’ ranks, but I went with Bell for the sole fact that he was a 10th rounder for the M’s in last year’s draft and there’s value in that.
Bell has struggled this year with a high home run rate in High-A Modesto. In fact, fly balls are his biggest weakness, and his average xFIP could nicely dip down if he’s able to keep the ball on the ground more.
He’s not an overpowering pitcher, but Bell had the ability to work around hitters in college as South Alabama’s ace. Perhaps he can find his touch at the professional level, and if so, that would be a nice get for the Marlins.
There are utility options aplenty for the Mariners to take a look at over the next month or so. This is just the first idea of many, but it might end up being the best one considering how well Dietrich and Steckenrider have played this year.
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Such a move may seem insignificant, but having players like this can change the outcome of certain games. It doesn’t move the needle by much, but it definitely sends it in the right direction.