Morosi breaks down Hernández to the Mariners, what’s next for Seattle
The Mariners made a move that wasn’t on many people’s radars entering the offseason. But it was something that MLB Network insider Jon Morosi mentioned to Seattle Sports 710 AM’s Wyman and Bob recently.
“I do think one trade possibility to keep in mind is a pretty significant bat that’s out there and might provide more power than what (Mitch) Haniger did this past year, Teoscar Hernández of the Blue Jays,” Morosi said late last week.
Well, that came to fruition on Wednesday with the Mariners acquiring the two-time Silver Slugger from Toronto in exchange for reliever Erik Swanson and pitching prospect Adam Macko.
So who better to join Wyman and Bob once again than Morosi?
“I had thought – and I’d obviously heard that Teoscar was out there – he certainly fit with the Mariners needed,” he said Wednesday after the trade occurred.
Morosi mentioned Haniger, now a free agent, a few times when discussing Hernández, including how on Hernández’s Baseball Reference page, his No. 1 similarity score is actually Haniger.
“He’s a similar player. There might be a little more upside, and obviously there’s greater cost certainty for the one year, and I think that the price was manageable that the Mariners gave up,” Morosi said. “I thought initially perhaps they would have had to put (Jarred) Kelenic in a deal like that.”
Hernández is 30 years old as of October and is entering the final year of his deal. Morosi shared his overall thoughts on the slugging outfielder, the trade and more.
“Teoscar Hernandez is a really, really good outfielder. In some ways he’s been a great hitter,” he said. “He is, I think, a comprehensive, really, really good right fielder. And yet, when it’s just one year, the price tag is, well, maybe your sixth- or seventh-best prospect and a really good reliever. But it’s not a frontline starting pitcher, it’s not an everyday position player in his prime. It’s a manageable cost when it’s a one-year player to bring in.
“And I think one thing about the Mariners overall, is that their payroll is in pretty good shape to where if they really liked what Teoscar does and he comes in and as a really good first half of the season, then they can always revisit the possibility of extending him during the course of the year in a way that it just didn’t seem like it was going to happen with Mitch Haniger.”
Morosi said he was told that the Mariners are still looking for another outfielder, and that trading 2022 left fielder Jesse Winker is “a very strong possibility” and he’s heard the 2021 All-Star has been discussed in trades over the last 48 hours.
If the Mariners do add another outfielder, Morosi thinks the team’s prefence is for it to be a left-handed bat, such as Masakata Yoshida, who was recently posted from by the Orix Buffaloes in Japan.
“I think the Mariners likely will add a bat in the outfield,” he said. But I think that by virtue of this trade, Brandon Nimmo is now less of a possibility for the Mariners and more of a possibility for the Jays as sort of a seesaw consequence of this trade.”
Also a consequence of this trade, Morosi said, is Haniger’s chances of returning to Seattle.
“I would be at this point surprised. I just think that Teoscar is going to play the role that Mitch Haniger played,” he said. “He’s going to bat where he was batting, he’s going to play right field. I just don’t see a real fit unless Mitch’s market really is not what he expects it to be and he comes back and it’s a cheaper one-year deal or a one-year plus an option deal as a DH effectively, or a left field combination. But it just seems to me that he’ll probably find another spot.”
Morosi also mentioned in the conversation that he thinks it’s still possible the team trades one or both of Marco Gonzales and Chris Flexen. He also said the M’s are “certainly” and “generally” involved in the four All-Star shortstops – Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts, Trea Turner and Dansby Swanson – but doesn’t think they’re the favorites.