When the Seattle Mariners acquired Jesse Winker, he was considered the star offensive player that hit over .300, got on base a ton, and hit for plus power. This year he has been anything but. He started off the year struggling at the plate and aside from a few small stretches, he has not been the great hitter everyone thought he would be. As the Mariners are in a critical stretch run, Jesse Winker is potentially playing his way out of Seattle.
The Mariners are at the point of the season where every little thing matters. Every hit and every out mean more because there are fewer and fewer games to win or lose now. Winker is not helping the Mariners get hits or make outs. He is flat out the worst defensive left fielder in baseball, and possibly the worst defender at any position in baseball. He has a -12.1 Defensive WAR, is bottom 3% in Outs Above Average, and bottom 1% in Outfield Jump.
He just cannot play left field for the Mariners because he is a liability. He has also been awful with the bat in his hands. On the season he has had the worst numbers of his career in almost all statistical categories, but lately, he has been even worse. In the second half, he is hitting .181, with a measly 7 extra-base hits. In the month of September, he is hitting .122 with one extra-base hit. That is just flat-out terrible, and the Mariners should have been getting a star.
The only good news on Winker is that he is walking the most he ever has in his career and has played in a career-high 131 games as of September 24. I am sure Mariners fans would rather have him play in 100 games and play like the player he had been throughout his career.
At this point, Winker is more of a negative than a positive on the field. This could easily lead him to be dealt in the offseason even though his value would not be high. The Mariners can’t have the worst left fielder in baseball and a sub .200 hitter as a regular player on a playoff-caliber team. It is very easy to see a scenario where the M’s deal Winker to open a spot in the outfield to sign a better defender and better hitter.
The way that Jesse Winker can fix this and show that he should not be traded for whatever the Mariners can get is to do what he has done every other year of his career, hit. Winker possesses a unique bat and if he plays as he did in Cincinnati, he could go on an absolute heater and explode at the plate. He could carry the Mariners into the playoffs and lead them on a deep run if he can start to hit the ball harder consistently, which has been one of his biggest problems this year.