It has been a busy few days in Major League Baseball circles, though mostly involving the Astros cheating scandal. But a major free agent signed with a contender, and that could benefit the Mariners.
Any time a major move is made in the sport, there are two phases you need to consider. First, what does it mean for the player and team that signed him? And second, how could this impact the rest of the league. And as the Twins signed Josh Donaldson, naturally, we want to know how it impacts the Mariners.
The Twins have had a nice off-season, but have been unable to sign the big-name pitcher they need. Instead, they have focused on making their offense one of the best in the game while keeping their rotation from a year ago. But we don’t really care about the Twins, at least not right now.
However, the Donaldson signing can impact the Mariners in a few ways. First and foremost, the Braves have just lost a massively impactful right-handed hitter in the middle of their lineup. The Braves need a right-handed bat to replace Donaldson and Seattle has a pretty good one available.
The “Mitch Haniger to the Braves” rumors are probably going to start up again, and it does make some sense. In fact, if reports are to be believed, the Braves have anticipated losing Donaldson and have already talked to the Cubs about Kris Bryant.
But, surprise, the Braves have found the asking price to be too high. Now, Atlanta could sign Marcell Ozuna, but that would cost them their second pick in the 2020 draft. They could sign Nicholas Castellanos who isn’t nearly the player Haniger is and will cost significantly more money.
Haniger would immediately become the second-best outfielder for the Braves and is likely going to cost less for Atlanta than Bryant and most certainly less than Nolan Arenado.
But there are two other dominoes that may fall. Of course, the Braves have a “hole” at third base which, in theory, may make Kyle Seager an option for Atlanta. But Atlanta has a few options to handle third, so while I wouldn’t rule it out, I would call it highly unlikely.
The final domino that may yet fall is the market of Marco Gonzales. The Twins were unable to improve their rotation, taking a few lottery tickets to fill out the back-end of their rotation. As a World Series contender, that really isn’t good enough.
Minnesota was a nice fit for Gonzales before the Donaldson signing. Now that the Twins are largely up against their personal payroll preference, adding an expensive starter isn’t an option.
Now, it is unlikely any of these dominoes will fall. But then again, just about any trade, you can dream of is unlikely to happen. And as we are now less than a month away from Spring Training, expect to see a wild scramble of contenders looking to strengthen their world series odds.
I expect all three to begin the 2020 season with the Mariners, but all these links could come back into play in the middle of the season.