The Seattle Mariners have an overabundance of outfielders so I expect at some point that, whether it is during this off-season or before the trading deadline, the Mariners will trade at least one of their outfielders.
The best choice for the Mariners would be to trade one of their veteran outfielders, whether it is Domingo Santana, Mallex Smith or Mitch Haniger. Personally I would begin with trading Smith. His defense wasn’t good in 2019 and his hitting was not as expected either. If he stays with the Mariners, it should not be as the centerfielder.
Santana and Haniger would get the best value in return. With Santana, the Mariners could get something good in return during this off-season while Haniger might be better to trade during the season before the trading deadline since he was out most of this past season. The problem with trading him before the deadline is teams don’t offer as much as they do during the off-season; however, it may be the gamble Jerry Dipoto might have to make.
According to Dipoto, the plan is for the Mariners to play the kids so they might as well do it from day one of next season. I see Kyle Lewis and Jake Fraley being in the lineup every day. If Mitch Haniger is still on the team then Lewis would probably play in left field with occasional time in center or right when either Fraley and Haniger are out of the lineup.
The Mariners’ top two outfield prospects Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez will be up on the roster in the next year or two, so Dipoto will need to decide what to do with the excess of outfielders. At that point, we should know whether Lewis and Fraley will be able to hit major league pitching or not. So will the Mariners end up trading either Lewis and Fraley? The Mariners could have all four players in the mix.
With Kelenic and Rodriguez on the roster along with Lewis and Fraley, I could see a rotation where one of the four outfielders would be hitting in the designated hitter spot. If this does happen then Smith, Haniger, Santana, and Braden Bishop would all be playing somewhere else. All except Bishop could be sooner than later. Bishop hasn’t had enough major league experience to see how his future goes at this point. I could see two of the four go in the same too.
The Mariners have another prospect in Dom Thompson-Williams. He struggled last year at Double-A Arkansas after arriving in the trade for James Paxton from the Yankees. He got off to a good start; however, he ended with a batting average of .234 for the season with 12 home runs and 41 RBIs. He is still 24 years old so things could change with a better season in Double-A next year. The Mariners could put him as a part of a multi-asset deal as well since they don’t have room for him either at this point.
Isn’t it great the Mariners have an issue with more outfielders than they could use right now in the low minors, Double-A, possibly Triple-A, and the major leagues? The Mariners could use any of these outfielders to improve in the infield and pitching. Let’s see what Dipoto will do over the next three months to improve the team.