The Seattle Mariners have continued their quiet off-season (relatively speaking) since they departed the winter meetings. The biggest question remaining is whether or not they will trade OF Mitch Haniger.
The confidence meter in the Mariners moving Mitch Haniger this winter has been as fluid as can be this winter. But thanks to a quickly moving corner outfield market and a plethora of teams in the market for help, the scale is tipped decidedly in the “will trade” category, at least for now.
The MLB Hot Stove is a living organism and things can change quickly and without much notice. But after giving the odds of a Haniger trade a 25%-30% chance last month, the scales appear to be tipping in a positive direction.
But still, the number of teams who could be interested in Haniger is shifting and can be hard to track. So today, we rank the 5 teams most likely to trade for Mitch Haniger. This exercise is based largely on deductive reasoning, so naturally, Haniger will not be traded to any of these locations.
But when we look for a Haniger fit, we are looking at both the need of the acquiring team and what they can give to Seattle for their All-Star outfielder. With all that in mind, let’s get started.
Oddly enough, the Mariners and Rays have not yet made a trade this winter and it is starting to freak us out. Based on past history, it is likely that the Mariners and Rays have talked although perhaps not about Haniger.
Tampa is a fit because Haniger fits a profile that the Rays typically covet: a proven MLB player with an on-base skill who is club controlled and making little to no money. Tampa also has more than enough prospect capital to meet the Mariners’ demands without burning their entire system.
On the surface, Tampa and Seattle seem like a decent fit. But the Rays already have Hunter Renfroe, Kevin Kiermaier, and Austin Meadows. Plus, they recently signed Yoshitomo Tsutsugo and listed him as a 3B/OF, giving them 4 OF bats they’d like to use.
Ultimately, Tampa isn’t eliminated entirely because of the health issues of Kiermaier and the high likelihood that Tsutsugo isn’t a pure OF. However, Haniger will likely become too expensive for them after 2021, when Haniger enters his final season of arbitration. This likely makes Tampa view Haniger as a 2-year play instead of a 3-year player, lowering his value to them.
You can never rule out a trade between Jerry Dipoto and Tampa Bay, but there are just better fits for Seattle and Haniger, which is why Tampa ranks so low on our list.