While there were zero major offensive transactions made through free agency, the same cannot be said for what Dipoto did by trading for offense.
The Mariners made two trades that brought them three All-Star caliber players. First, in a trade with the San Diego Padres, the M’s acquired 2nd baseman Adam Frazier, while giving up very little. One of the best hitters in Pittsburgh before going ice cold in a summer trade to the Padres, all Frazier has done in the spring is hit .438 BA with a .526 OBP. That will play.
The second trade involved the M’s trading two solid pitching prospects, Brandon Williamson and Connor Phillips, along with outfielder Jake Fraley and fringe starter Justin Dunn, in exchange for All-Star Jesse Winker and former All-Star Eugenio Suarez. Suarez, a power hitting 3rd baseman who has had a rough going the past two seasons, appears to be healthy and ready to fill the hole left by Kyle Seager’s departure.
The prize of that trade is, without question, Jesse Winker. Winker, an All-Star left fielder last year, produced a 2.7 WAR last season while demolishing right-handed pitching. He immediately slots in as a middle of the order bat that can continue to develop and be a part of this hopefully successful core over the next two seasons.
While there’s definitely potential in the arms of Williamson and Phillips, the upgrade the lineup will be seeing is significant, especially if Suarez returns to his hitting numbers in 2018 and 2019 (34 & 49 HRs).
These trades complete one of the most unique lineups you will see in all of baseball. The Mariners, if they decide to not call up Julio Rodriguez, will put out a lineup completely pieced together through trade acquisitions. Losing prospects is never fun, but Dipoto appears to have fleeced multiple teams, while creating the best lineup the Mariners have seen in many years.
Trades Grade: A