I've gone through the young group of Mariners, talking about extensions and what they could look like. Between Raleigh, Gilbert, and Kirby, the three are in very similar situations. 25-26, lots of team control left, and honestly could get about the same contract if it came down to it because of the lack of experience in the bigs. I decided to switch it up and look at the new Mariners RF/DH, Teoscar Hernandez.
30 years old, Hernandez has had a darn good start to his career. It was actually a great thing for Mariners fans everywhere to see Two in a Blue Jays uniform, as he had been traded from the Astros with Nori Aoki (hey, remember him?) for Francisco Liriano. I know not everything would be the same, but having Teo on that Astros team would've been soul crushing.
Once Teo got to Toronto, he started hitting... and hasn't stopped. Although he struggled a bit with average in 2018/2019, he hit a combined .283/.333/.519 over the last three seasons. Extrapolating on the shortened 2020 season, Teo would have 100 HR over the last three seasons. He had a monster 2021, driving in 116 RBI for the Jays, showing the potential for a lot of damage when surrounded by talented hitters... something the Mariners are trying to repeat in 2023.
We all talked in 2022 about how Julio Rodriguez hits the ball so hard. It's a great indicator of success, as the harder a player hits the ball, the more likely it is to turn into a hit. Average exit velo is pretty self-explanatory, giving you the average exit velocity off the bat that a player has throughout the season, while hard-hit rate is how often a player hits in 95 mph+.
Julio was 21st in average exit velo (92.0 mph) and 14th in hard hit rate (50.7%). Pretty good right? well, Teoscar Hernandez was 11th in average exit velo (92.6 mph) and 5th in hard-hit rate (53.3%). Those two guys in the lineup? Yeah, I wouldn't want to be playing third base against the Mariners.
Really, I just wanted to talk about how it's going to be fun watching those two mash baseballs all season. I would love to see an extension for Teoscar Hernandez so we can watch it for the rest of the decade, and I think that a recent contract is a good starting point for a conversation about his contract. Look back to what Nick Castellanos got from the Phillies.
Castellanos and Teo are just about the same age (Teo is 7 months younger) and have put up similar seasons in their careers. They've showcased averages in the upper 200s, the ability to go for about 30 HR, to drive in runs, and be an impact bat in the middle of the order. Unfortuntaely, niether of them are great at defense.
It's why I think a five-year deal makes a lot of sense. You get Teo through his age 35 season, and he can be your DH. Is this a potential Nelson Cruz type situation? You finally go back to having a near full-time DH, letting one of the best hitters on your team worry about only hitting. His bat should continue to stay strong through that season, and will likely still be impactful past that year. If everything is going well, you could offer another 3YR deal to Teo.
5/100 would also put him around 5th in AAV and total contract for RF. I think thats about the right spot for him. He's in the conversation for a top-5 player at the position, and the bat could be a difference maker for the Mariners throughout the majority of the 2020s.
Trading for a one-year rental is always tough, as if they leave, you have to go right back out and either try and make another trade or convince someone to come here in FA. With Teo on the team and already forming a good relationship with Julio, and extension would make that trade with Toronto a massive win for the Mariners. 5YR/$100M, let's make it happen.