Milwaukee Brewers – Lorenzo Cain
The Mariners are going into the 2022 season with no clear center fielder. One way to fix that is to trade for Brewers center fielder Lorenzo Cain. He has one year left on his contract at an expensive $16 million. Cain is going to be 36 this season, and trading for him may give the Mariners a way to get a player who is on a larger contract who will contribute, but not have to give up much.
Cain did not play hardly at all in 2020 due to covid concerns, and he only played in 78 games last year. He missed time with a hamstring strain and quad discomfort. He slashed .257/.329/.401 and had a 97 wRC+. His offensive package is not a super great one, but he is going to be average. The Mariners need to just have competent production added to the back half of their lineup to make it deeper. Adding Cain’s bat certainly does that.
In addition to his average offensive skillset, Cain is one of the best defensive center fielders in baseball still. He had 6 Defensive Runs Saved in 70 games in center field last year, so he still has lots of good defense left in him. Having him in center field gives the Mariners the ability to keep Jarred Kelenic in left field, and gives them a true center fielder.
Trading for Lorenzo Cain is certainly intriguing, but there are a few ways the M’s could trade for him. They could take on his whole contract and give up very little, they could get another prospect with Cain and give up more, or they could get money from the Brewers to help pay for his contract. Below are three different trade proposals, one for each scenario.
Scenario #1 – Mariners take on full contract
Scenario #2 – Mariners get a prospect added
Scenario #3 – Mariners get money added
All three of these situations are very interesting, and looking at the first scenario, the Mariners would not have to give up much at all. Tyler Keenan is an infield prospect who struggled at high A last year in his first year of pro ball. He could turn out to be a part time infielder at the big league level, but is a ways off. He has power potential, but he struck out too much last year. The main benefit for the Brewers in this situation is getting rid of Cain’s $16 million salary.
Option #2 also involves the Mariners taking on Cain’s contract, but they also get a prospect. The Brewers have one of the worst farm systems in baseball, ranked 25th by MLB Pipeline. This means that getting a highly ranked prospect from the Brewers doesn’t mean he is a great prospect. Freddy Zamora is a 23 year old shortstop who performed well at A and high A last year, who has good contact projection and defensive potential. He should play at AA next year.
The Mariners would give up Yohan Ramirez in that scenario because they Brewers love pitching. They always seem to take on interesting pitchers, and Ramirez is certainly that. He is one of the more intriguing relievers for the Mariners, as he has a great slider. His problem is that he struggles with command, but the Brewers develop lots of relievers, so having another isn’t a big deal.
The final scenario has the Mariners getting Cain for only $10 million dollars next year because the Brewers paid down the rest. The M’s would send a current lefty reliever in Anthony Misiewicz, who has potential and he had a solid year last year. Juan Mercedes is a right handed reliever who is going to be in high A ball next year, and could move fast.
All in all, trading for Lorenzo Cain would be a unique way to get a center fielder for one year that doesn’t cost a lot. He would be fun to watch in Seattle, and he could be one of the best center fielders the Mariners have had in recent memory. Certainly he would not be out there dropping fly balls. The next trade possibility comes from the steel city.