Entering July 18th, the Mariners sit one game back of the Athletics in the Wild card race. With the trade deadline coming up on the 30th it’s now or never to make a push for the playoffs this season. Jerry Dipoto has mentioned that they are looking for a right-handed bat that can help in the infield. Trea Turner can do that and much more. The acquisition of Turner could be the move that ends the horrendous 20-year playoff drought, and here’s why.
Let’s address a few painfully obvious facts first. Although the Mariners are a season-high nine games over .500 at the moment, they are not a great hitting team. Currently, they rank last in OBP and K%. Saying this out loud makes me wonder how they even find themselves even remotely close to a playoff spot.
While their offensive production as a whole has not been amazing, 2B has been a particularly weak spot in the order. Mariner’s second baseman are slashing an abysmal .191/.260/.354. With a slash line like this, it’s not surprising that our second base offensive production only beats that of the Baltimore Orioles.
Trea Turner can not only help 2B offensive production, but he could make it a strength for the Mariners heading into the last 60 games of the season.
With a slash line of .320/.368/.519 in 2021, Trea Turner continues to be one of the most offensively productive infielders in the MLB. Not only is the overall slash line amazing, but Trea Turner is particularly lethal against lefties. By lethal, I mean that Turner has the highest batting average (.400) in the ENTIRE league against lefties.
Mariners have a pretty left-handed heavy lineup and many division foes (such as the Athletics and Angels) have left-handed heavy rotations. Reducing the effectiveness of left-handed pitchers against the Mariners could prove to be crucial down the stretch.
If any of you have seen either of Sean Manaea’s starts against the Mariners (in which he threw a complete game in one, and had a career-high 13 strikeouts in the other), you can appreciate the effectiveness Turner has against lefties.
Turner has also proven throughout his career that he can put the ball in play, something the Mariners have struggled with as previously mentioned. According to Baseball Savant, Turner has a strikeout rate of 18.4%, which is below league average. In 2020, Turner had a strikeout rate of 13.4%, which was in the top 8% of the league.
As far as the obvious offensive help, Turner has a few other ways he can help us down the stretch.
Baseball Savant has him ranked in the 100th percentile in sprint speed, and he’s not afraid to run. Since he joined the league in 2015, Turner is 3rd overall in SB behind Billy Hamilton and former Mariner Dee Gordon.
Although Turner has played the majority of his MLB career at SS, he can play 2B. Turner is no slouch on the defensive end, but with JP coming off a Gold Glove season it would seem unlikely to move Turner to SS and Crawford to 2B.
In addition to 2B, Turner can also play in the outfield. With Kyle Lewis coming off a meniscus surgery, it would be nice to have a bat that can also be an emergency outfielder just in case Lewis runs into any setbacks.
A Trea Turner acquisition seems too good to be true, which is exactly why it’s going to be pricey. The Padres sent over their #5 prospect plus 2 others ranked outside the top 30 to acquire Adam Frazier. That would be the equivalent of the Mariners sending Noelvi Marte plus a few other prospects. No matter how you look at the contracts and production of Frazier vs. Turner, the Mariners would have to give up a top prospect no matter what.
Within reason, If that’s what it’s going to take to end the playoff drought then I’m all ears.