So…how about that off-season huh? About five minutes after the Seattle Mariners finally relented after an 18 inning heavyweight battle against the Houston Astros, the fans of the Mariners turned their eyes toward 2023. We all had our dreams and visions of how Seattle was going to make the leap, end the Astros evil empire, and bring a world series to Seattle.
As we head into the holiday season, when transactions naturally begin to slow down, the vibes in Mariners Land are closer to pitchforks and civil war than season’s greeting and the happy holiday spirit. Kinda weird for a team that appears to be at the dawn of a new and exciting era of Mariners baseball.
What the heck is going on? Let's recap the offseason so far, where Seattle may be going, and how we can possibly process this weird offseason.
In classic Jerry Dipoto fashion, he kicked off the MLB hot stove on November 16th by acquiring all-star right fielder Teoscar Hernandez from Toronto in exchange for reliever Erik Swanson and pitching prospect Adam Macko.
Maybe it was because the offseason was so early, but I don't think this trade was or has been talked about enough. I believe this trade could potentially be up there with some of the best trades of the Dipoto era. It was pretty clear that Mitch Haniger was no longer going to be a Seattle Mariner, and to acquire a player that has been both more available, and simply a better player.
Since 2020, Hernandez has made an all-star game, won two silver slugger awards, and carries an OPS+ of 129 over the past two seasons. He may not be a great defensive outfielder, but he has an exceptional arm, mitigating some potential loss with Haniger. Most importantly, we saw Hernandez light up the Seattle Mariners in Game 2 of the Wild Card Series, smashing two monster home runs. He'll be a huge addition to the club, and hopefully, there's a deal that makes sense going forward for the soon to be free agent.
I loved this trade, and as the offseason has continued, I continue to love it more and more.
I'll be honest, I really wanted to be in on this special shortstop market, but we'll talk about that later. On December 2nd, those hopes were put to rest when Seattle traded away Jesse Winker and Abraham Toro for 2nd baseman Kolten Wong.
I felt pretty meh on this trade initially. I like Wong, he's a good veteran player that has shown to be a decent hitter and a good to great defender. He should be a nice upgrade at 2nd base, and can be a good platoon for Dylan Moore. The fact that this trade has made 2nd base no longer a black hole is good. The fact that this trade removed Jesse Winker and Abraham Toro from the Mariners is great.
The Toro trade was always going to leave a bad taste to Mariners fans. The timing, the coldness, unless Toro was going to be a stud, the deal was destined to be ridiculed. Toro had a hot start when he arrived, before turning into one of the worst hitters in all of baseball. He was a waste of a roster spot, and his acquisition should go down as one of the worst trades of the Dipoto era.
The Jesse Winker trade was great in theory, and it technically did work out thanks to Eugenio Suarez, but the Winker portion was a disaster. One of the best hitters in the NL came to Seattle and never could get the back going. I will have nightmares of his lazy swings that lead to infield popouts. The guy looked like he was swinging an axe for the first time in his life.
His strength, and work ethic were a big point of contention, as he reportedly became a locker room cancer. There's no roam on this ship for a guy that can't field, hit, or get along with people.
This trade may not be the big acquisition I wanted, but Seattle got better on the field and in the locker room.