Is Mariners’ reported trade interest in 2B Kolten Wong a good sign?

Nov 17, 2022, 2:55 PM | Updated: Nov 18, 2022, 10:19 am
Mariners offseason Kolten Wong...
Brewers 2B Kolten Wong rounds third base after hitting a home run against the Cincinnati Reds on Sept. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)
(AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

It didn’t take long for the Mariners to come back up in trade rumors following their blockbuster deal Wednesday with the Blue Jays for All-Star outfielder Teoscar Hernández.

Dipoto: What Teoscar Hernández brings that the Mariners’ lineup needs

MLB Network reporter Jon Morosi, who first brought up Hernández as a potential Mariners target a week before the swap on Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob, tweeted Thursday about another possible trade Seattle could be working on.

The Mariners are in need of a second baseman and potentially a left-handed bat, and the 32-year-old Kolten Wong fits the bill for both. He’s a two-time Gold Glove winner, most recently in 2020, and had a decent year at the plate for the Brewers in 2022, slashing .251/.339/.430 for a .770 OPS and 118 OPS+, with 15 home runs, 24 doubles and 17 stolen bases in 134 games. He has a year left on his current contract with Milwaukee and made headlines in late September with a three-homer game against the Reds.

If the Mariners indeed go that route to fill the second base spot left open with Adam Frazier now a free agent, though, it may rule out something fans had been hoping for.

“I think Kolten Wong is an upgrade over Adam Frazier, but I think (a Mariners trade for Wong would be) limiting themselves in terms of ceiling for the 2023 season,” said Curtis Rogers on Thursday filling is as a guest host on Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy.

The reason for that is it would likely take the Mariners out of the running for a big name shortstop in free agency. Seattle already has a shortstop in J.P. Crawford, and while M’s president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto and general manager Justin Hollander have both said the preference is to have Crawford at the position again in 2023, they haven’t completely ruled out moving him to second base if it meant signing one of the star shortstops available.

Rogers said he hopes the Mariners could add one of three available free agents at shortstop – Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa and Trea Turner – so he finds Morosi’s report about Wong worrisome.

“I want one of those shortstops in the worst way,” Rogers said. “I know that signing free agents isn’t exactly how Jerry Dipoto does his business – he prefers trades, he prefers player development – but man, when you’ve got talent like this available on the free agent market, it’s hard to sit on your wallet.”

Responded Michael Bumpus: “You just don’t want to feel like you’re settling. … I’m with you, I wouldn’t be satisfied with (the Mariners acquiring Wong to fill the hole at second base). I’m glad that they’re trying to make moves but I don’t think this is the move that needs to be made. But if J.P. comes back (as the shortstop), man, what are we gonna do? We’re gonna rock with him.”

You can listen to the full conversation in the Headline Rewrites segment from Thursday’s edition of Bump and Stacy in the podcast at this link or in the player below.

Morosi breaks down Hernández to the Mariners, what’s next for Seattle

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Is Mariners’ reported trade interest in 2B Kolten Wong a good sign?