Another Mariners veteran gets shipped off to a contender.
As it was reported Saturday morning, Jerry Dipoto was working out a deal to send first baseman/outfielder Jay Bruce to the Philadelphia Phillies. A little over 24 hours later and the trade has now been completed, with first official confirmation coming from Bruce himself.
It took a while for the deal to be formally announced, due in part to the significant amount of money heading from Seattle to Philadelphia that needed be approved by the commissioner’s office. Per the Seattle PI, the Mariners will send roughly $18.5 million to the Phillies by January 15, 2020 to help pay the ~$21 million owed to Bruce.
It’s been a strange year for Bruce, who was acquired by the Mariners back in early December in a blockbuster deal with the New York Mets. Through 47 games this season, Bruce has one of the weirdest slash lines you’ll ever see at .212/.283/.533. Of Bruce’s 35 hits, 14 have gone for home runs.
When Seattle took on the contracts of both Bruce and Anthony Swarzak to help offset some of the financial commitment the Mets were making to Robinson Canó, the hope was that they would be able to flip both players somewhere down the road. Therefore, the aforementioned trade with the Mets never felt entirely complete.
Swarzak and Bruce struggled immensely in their time in Seattle, making it seem like both would wind up being DFA’d at some point, leaving the Mariners empty-handed. But Dipoto found a deal with the Braves for Swarzak back on May 20, and has now found a partner for Bruce.
Essentially, the Mariners were able to turn Canó and Edwin Díaz into Jarred Kelenic, Justin Dunn, Gerson Bautista, Jesse Biddle, Arodys Vizcaíno, and now Jake Scheiner. Of course, they’re still on the hook for the majority of Swarzak and Bruce’s remaining salaries, along with some of Canó’s, but this is still a massive win for Seattle’s front office.
As for Scheiner, the 23-year-old utility prospect heading back to the Mariners in this deal, this will hopefully breathe new life into an otherwise disappointing followup to a monster 2018 season. Scheiner is a jack of all trades but a master of none defensively; however, it’s the bat that the Phillies—and now the Mariners—have bought into.
After tearing up Division I ball in his collegiate career and slashing an excellent .296/.372/.470 for Low-A Lakewood in 2018, Scheiner’s move to High-A ball has caused him to scuffle a bit this season. Through 44 games, Scheiner is slashing just .256/.326/.353 with two home runs and 19 RBIs.
The hit tool on Scheiner is legit and suggests a positive turnaround in his near future. The Mariners just have to help him get back on track. He’s an on-base guy that won’t strikeout a ton and should walk at an average rate. Nothing flashy, but certainly interesting given his past production.
The return isn’t great and the money being sent to Philadelphia is rather high, but considering how bleak a Bruce trade seemed just days ago, the Mariners did pretty well for themselves. This also means a clear path to more playing time has suddenly opened for Braden Bishop, who was called up to fill the opening left by Bruce’s departure.