In case you haven’t heard, the Seattle Mariners are rolling right now. They’re one of the hottest teams in baseball and have climbed out of a 29-39 hole many Mariners teams before would have folded. Some pronounced them dead, but maybe these are zombie Mariners. They have somehow marched their way to a 45-42 record, one of the best stretches in team history, and with their sights set on the postseason.
Zombies or not, this has been an incredible run, but not without some concerns going into the final 75 games. Most notably, is a lack of consistent firepower on offense. Behind a dominant stretch of pitching by the staff, the Mariners have been able to withstand numerous injuries and suspensions. That’s been great, but Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto shouldn’t assume that’s a given going forward.
The second base position has been once again a black hole in the lineup. Two trades in the past year have been pretty clear failures, with both Abraham Toro and Adam Frazier. Injuries have left the right field position in the negative as well. I’m intrigued by Haggerty as a fourth outfielder, but not as a starter. Upton has helped Seattle win a game and provides leadership, but his days of being a productive baseball player are long gone.
The Mariners need more, and there’s a deal to be had with a team Jerry recently did business with.
Jerry went out and acquired Carlos Santana from the Kansas City Royals as a stop gap for the injured Ty France, and brawl suspensions. Instead, Seattle might have acquired the elite bat from those great Cleveland teams a few years back. While this has been a shockingly pleasant surprise, business shouldn’t stop there.
The Seattle Mariners should trade for all-star left fielder Andrew Benintendi
Before we get into the player I think Seattle needs, let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room, and that is “what about Mitch Haniger and Kyle Lewis?” Let me start by saying I’m a huge fan of both Haniger and Lewis. Haniger has been one of my favorite players to watch over the past few seasons, and Lewis was the first player to get fans excited about this rebuild coming to fruition. That being said, they no longer get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to staying healthy. Odds are they are more likely to miss most of the final 75 games than they are to play in them.
Both are hoping to come back by late July, just before the trade deadline. Anything they can provide this season is gravy on top, but that has to be it. Let these guys take their time getting back, and have them ready to help the team for the stretch run, not players to be relied upon. Their health could be the difference in postseason success, not just getting there.
Andrew Benintendi can be the guy that helps Seattle get to October.
Benintendi has had an incredible season so far. The gold glove left fielder has been the lone bright spot in an otherwise terrible season for Kansas City. The soon-to-be free agent is going to cash in, slashing .317/.387/.402 on the year with a WRC+ of 128…the dude is raking.
The Royals are battling for draft position now and will have zero chance of re-signing Benintendi. They will have numerous suitors and are going to trade him. I believe the Seattle Mariners would benefit the most by snagging Benintendi. Seattle has the farm system, the relationship, and the need to get a deal done. Here’s a deal I believe can get Benintendi in a Mariners uniform.
In this deal, Seattle is acquiring an impact bat with postseason experience. I don’t believe moving him to right field would be a huge issue, considering how solid he is in left field. Also, I’m sure he’d be happy to help a team looking to secure the top wildcard spot, rather than a team that’s gonna lose 90 games.
From an offensive perspective, a lineup that starts every game with some combination of Andrew Benintendi, Julio Rodriguez, and Ty France is pretty dang good. That’s three all-star level hitters that can attack pitchers immediately in every game.
From the Royals perspective, they are taking a solid chunk out of one of the better farm systems in baseball. Deloach is having a solid year in Double-A Arkansas and projects as a potential replacement to Benintendi for the Royals as soon as next season. Stoudt is an extremely gifted pitcher that is having a really tough season in Arkansas. His future may be as a high-level reliever, but there’s still a chance he can be a starter.
The last piece, Bryan Woo, was a 6th-round pick in last year’s draft. Post Tommy-John surgery, he looks healthy, strong, and can be a potential lottery ticket arm. Overall, the Royals are getting two top fifteen level prospects from Seattle, plus a recently drafted pitcher, that all better fit their next competitive window.
The Mariners are adding a gold glove to what is already the best defense in baseball, and an all-star level bat to a lineup that could really use him to help get Seattle over the top.