When the Mariners acquired Jesse Winker from the Cincinnati Reds, fans were excited. Many thought of him as one of the best left fielders in all of baseball. The Mariners were filing in a problem spot in their lineup with a great hitter that was a bad defender. If they could get a full season out of him (RED FLAG) then he was going to be a great acquisition.
I remember what most fans were thinking. Winker hit .300+ in 2021, and provided about 3.0 WAR in just 110 games. If we can get 140-150 games out of him, he could push 5.0+ WAR and 35 HR! Sure, the defense isn’t great, but if he is like a 5-6 oWAR and a -1 dWAR, then that is a tradeoff we will take for sure!
Jesse Winker gets a D- for his play on the Mariners in 2022
I’m sure that plenty of Mariners fans were thinking that he was going to get an F. I can see the argument. It’s not just that Jesse Winker was a bad defender this year. He was one of the worst defenders in baseball, if not the WORST. He had a -2.4 dWAR, which is insanely awful. A major league level athlete and actual outfielder shouldn’t be able to go to a park with a very vanilla left field and do that bad without actively trying to be bad.
I’m not saying he was sabotaging the season, but I am saying that he just didn’t care about being good. That falls in line with some of the reports that were coming out after the season. That he didn’t care. Didn’t worry about getting better or putting in the practice. Just expected to show up and play and be fine.
You know, like the kid we all knew in high school that was good enough to do this. Except, this is MLB, and Winker is nowhere near that level of player.
He did draw walks (.344 OBP with a career-high 15.4% BB rate). He had a bit of bad luck on BABIP, 44 points below league average. He also tried to fight a bunch of California Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, which always gets you a couple of grade points.
However, he had an OPS of less than .700. AND HE WAS AWFUL AT DEFENSE! Seriously, you could’ve put Perry Hill out there and he probably would’ve done better. His defense was so bad that he cost the team multiple games. Without Winker, the Mariners would’ve opened up their WC series in Seattle instead of in Toronto, that’s how big of a difference he made.
It was a near-complete failure for Jesse Winker this year. If not for throwing down in Anaheim and the walk rate, I would’ve given him an F. I still want to based on the reports that came out after the season ended, but there were the tiniest glimmers of hope and success from him this season. Hopefully, things work out with him going forward.