President of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto and Justin Hollander have done a remarkable job remaking the Mariners' roster despite no support from ownership. The front office duo has acquired a former American League All-Star second baseman, a full-time designated hitter with power, an outfielder who offers 20/20 upside, brought back Seattle's favorite son, Mitch Haniger, and swung a trade to solidify the backend of the bullpen in Gregory Santos. All those moves and a step forward from the core seem enough, but they could make one more move to raise this team's floor.
Trading for Willy Adames
The Brewers are officially open for business, having traded Corbin Burnes earlier this week. Per Bob Nightengale, power-packed infielder Willy Adames is on the trade market. The 28-year-old had a down year, traditionally, statistic-wise, especially when you look at the slash line (.210/.317/.717). However, some underlying stats tell an interesting story.
The fact that Adames is still barrelling the ball at a high rate (82nd percentile) and has a more palatable expected batting average shows the talent is still in there. If anything, the discrepancy between his actual batting average (.210) and the expected one (.240) means Adames suffered from some bad luck in 2023. Additionally, 2024 Steamer projects the shortstop to return to his career norms while continuing his power potential (27 homers).
Adames' fit on the roster would likely be at the hot corner, pushing Luis Urias to a bench role. While that move would significantly strengthen the bench, I'm not sold on trading for the two-time Milwaukee Brewers most valuable player (2021-22). Adames averages 165 strikeouts per season even in his best years. The Mariners shipped Eugenio Suarez out due to his low slugging percentage and high strikeout rates. Adames' strikeout rate is close to the league average and light-years from Suarez-territory, which is a feather in his cap. However, I'd argue at his best, Luis Urias offers a similar outcome and a player that better aligns with the organizational philosophy of dominating the zone.
The 26-year-old Urias is significantly cheaper, coming in at $5M this year with another year of control. Adames is a pending free agent and will likely seek a multi-year deal. It's time to put a little faith into Luis Urias at third base because if we look closely, we might see a better version of the Milwaukee Brewer's two-time team MVP, Adames.