3. Atlanta Braves
The funny thing about the NL East is that there are 3 teams whose interest in Haniger would make quite a bit of sense. The Braves, New York Mets, and Philadelphia Phillies could all be interested in Haniger and all have the ammunition to make it happen.
But for the past year, perhaps no team has been a more obvious fit for the Mariners and Mitch Haniger than the Atlanta Braves. The Braves are contenders, have a deep and plentiful farm system, and young MLB talent in droves. Check.
They could use an upgrade in a corner outfield spot. Check. They are famously cautious on the free-agent market and prefer to make trades or draft and develop. Check. The Mariners are collecting young arms and the Braves have a plethora of arms with MLB upside and floor in their system. And we know the Braves are the one team to engage Seattle in Haniger talks last winter.
It all seems so easy. Everything is lining up for a deal. Except for the valuation being placed on Haniger. Based on what we know, the Braves want Haniger at the price of an average, everyday bat. They were unwilling to include any of their potential impact prospects in their package last winter.
The Mariners value Haniger as an All-Star player and one who can help set the culture of winning they are currently trying to establish. If neither of these valuations changes, a deal isn’t getting done. It is unlikely the Mariners will change their valuation that significantly, so the ball is in the Braves’ hands.
Atlanta still has the need and pieces necessary to get a deal done that both sides can be happy with. But if they insist on trying to get Haniger for 60 cents on the dollar, he won’t spend any time with the Braves.