The Mariners saw a couple of other teams make moves, with former M's 1B/OF Jake Bauers being one of those players moved. It didn't take long for them to get into the action, as they decided to make a swap with the Red Sox, sending RP Isaiah Campbell to Boston for UTIL Luis Urias.
We knew that the Mariners were going to make moves this offseason, and to see a trade should surprise not a single fan. The Mariners are one of the most active teams in the trade market since Jerry Dipoto came to the team. However, this trade has me scratching my head.
Why would the Mariners trade away Isaiah Campbell for UTIL Luis Urias?
At the end of the 2023 season, there were a couple of thoughts about the Mariners that most people would agree about when talking about the team. They had too many guys who could do a lot of things, but not enough of them well to be starters. The bullpen, while great, was a bit thin after Paul Sewald was traded away. Lastly, they needed bigger bats in the lineup.
So why, and please tell me if you know the answer, would the Mariners trade away a promising young reliever with a lot of control (through 2029) for a UTIL player coming off a down season who seemingly fits the role of a handful of players that are already off the team? If you agree, even partially, with what I stated up above, you're likely in the same boat of me and wondering what is going on.
There are a couple of thoughts that I have to possibly defend the move. Maybe they are letting Haggerty go. However, for a team that is so cost aware, is it worth dumping the 900K owed to Haggerty who has an extra year left compared to Urias and is in turn projected to make $4.7M this season?
He had good years in 2021 and 2022, and maybe that's the hope here. That he reverts to that. He was a 3 WAR player, but was bad enough in 2023 to be negative. It's similar to France, but much, much worse. He's got no speed on the bases, but can run into 15-20 homers and the same about of double with a slash line of .245/.340/.425 with a 110 OPS+ and decent defense. His K rate sits about 22-23%, right in line with league average, with the BB rate being a bit higher at 10.5% compared to 8.5%.
Urias can play a decent third base, which could be the second piece of why this deal got made. Maybe they are looking to trade Geno as part of another deal, and are looking to play Rojas at second, Urias at 3rd, and rotating Cabby between the two spots. Or, completing upgrading at 3rd and using Urias as a replacement for Haggerty and playing some time at those spots.
Still, even if that's the reason, this needs to be, at best, the 4th most impactful move the Mariners make this offseason. I honestly don't believe that the Mariners are better right now. It's possible that the Mariners didn't trust Campbell's shoulder/elbow, and thought that the innings and appearances he had in college would wear on him. I really don't know, but am trying to find a legit and respectable way to defend this trade.
I'm just struggling to do it.
Maybe Dipoto and Hollander will prove me wrong. They'll sign a couple of big-time hitters and all of a sudden we will see Cabby, Urias, Moore, and Hunt as the four bench guys. That would be wonderful. Currently, you still need a DH, corner OF, and could still upgrade at one of the corners if the opportunity arises. If so, I'll eat my words and praise them. I have no issue doing so, and I normally defend those two guys.
For now, though, I just don't see it. I can't understand why the Mariners traded Isaiah Campbell for Luis Urias.