We know the Mariners are going to be busy at some point this winter. But after a glacial start to this winter, at least by Jerry Dipoto standards, we have our first “big” rumor. Well, kind of.
The report today from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic is sure to send shockwaves through the heart of Mariners fandom. In the article, Rosenthal speculates that the interest in Mitch Haniger may be driven by the weak free-agent class of outfielders.
This fact, combined with Haniger’s age, affordability, and club control, has made him an enticing piece to multiple teams. Rosenthal also says the Mariners are more hesitant to trade Marco Gonzales, seemingly indicating the team has received interest in their de facto #1 arm as well.
The news that Haniger is drawing interest isn’t a surprise. Despite not playing since June 6th, he is expected to be ready to roll on day 1 of spring training. The general, surface-level feeling amongst a large contingent of Mariners fans is that if Seattle was going to trade Haniger, it had to be last winter. They couldn’t possibly get more for him this winter right?
Well, we covered why this wouldn’t necessarily be the case earlier this month, but the fact that there are already multiple calls coming in is an encouraging sign. Last winter, only 1 team seriously engaged the Mariners in trade talks for Haniger. That team, the Atlanta Braves, didn’t come close to meeting Dipoto’s asking price and a deal never materialized.
While we don’t know the extent of the talks, Rosenthal does say the Mariners are willing to deal him, which should make this already plausible scenario a little more likely. Seattle is still in a good position with Haniger, so anything is possible.
The Mariners don’t need to trade Haniger and if multiple teams enter the race, it could create a nice little payday for Jerry Dipoto and his rebuild.