Mariners trade Kyle Lewis to D-Backs for C/OF Cooper Hummel
The Mariners have followed up their first big trade of the offseason a day later with a pretty intriguing one-for-one swap.
ESPN MLB reporter Jeff Passan tweeted Thursday afternoon that Seattle has agreed to trade Kyle Lewis, the 2020 American League Rookie of the Year, to the Arizona Diamondbacks for the versatile Cooper Hummel. The Mariners announced the trade just before 5 p.m.
Welcome to Seattle, @CoopHUM!
We have acquired C/OF Cooper Hummel from the @DBacks in exchange for OF Kyle Lewis.
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) November 18, 2022
Passan describes Hummel as a “late-blooming OBP (on-base percentage) machine with excellent positional flexibility.”
Lewis, 27, burst onto the scene with the Mariners with an exciting showing after a September call-up in 2019, but he is coming off a disappointing past two seasons marred by injury. A knee injury and subsequent surgery ended his 2021 season prematurely, and it had begun late due to a bone bruise he suffered during spring training on the same knee, too. That knee was also the same one he suffered a significant injury early to in his first pro season in 2016 in a collision at home plate.
Lewis is just the second player ever to homer in each of his first three MLB games, and he followed that initial burst in 2019 by slashing .262/.364/.437 for an .801 OPS with 11 home runs in 58 games during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, good enough to earn him the AL Rookie of the Year trophy.
In just 18 MLB games last season, however, Lewis slashed .143/.226/.304 for a .540 OPS with three home runs. His running and mobility was noticeably hindered on the field once he rejoined in May 2022, and that continued to be the case upon his return in July from a concussion suffered when he was hit by a pitch on May 28. He played just four times in the outfield for Seattle in 2022, playing 11 more games as designated hitter and appearing three more times as a pinch-hitter. He spent the last two months of the season with Triple-A Tacoma.
Seattle made Lewis its initial first-round draft selection under then-general manager Jerry Dipoto, who is now the team’s president of baseball operations, with the No. 11 overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft.
Hummel, 27, is a Portland, Ore., native and product of the University of Portland. The switch-hitter made his MLB debut with Arizona in 2022, slashing .176/.274/.307 for a .580 OPS with three home runs, eight doubles and four stolen bases in 66 games. He started 17 games in left field, 14 at catcher and 12 at DH with the Diamondbacks. Hummel has also played first base and third base as a minor leaguer.
— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) October 4, 2022
In the minors, Hummel has maintained a strong on-base percentage, especially in 2021 (.432) and 2022 (.423) in Triple-A. He has recently played in the Arizona Fall League, going 8 for 17 (.471) with five walks for a 1.297 OPS with Salt River.
Hummel, who is listed as 5-foot-10 and 198 pounds, was picked by Milwaukee in the 18th round of the 2016 MLB Draft. The Brewers traded him to Arizona in 2021 as part of a two-prospect package for All-Star infielder Eduardo Escobar.
The Mariners have had success before in acquiring an older rookie with minimal MLB experience from Arizona. Mitch Haniger had played just 34 games in the big leagues with the Diamondbacks when Seattle traded for him in November 2016 ahead of his age 26 season. Seattle has also previously made the most of a late-blooming catcher in Austin Nola, who went from a minor league addition in free agency to a solid contributor with the team after making his MLB debut in 2019. That led to a big trade with San Diego centered around Nola during the 2020 season that brought Ty France, Andrés Muñoz, Luis Torrens and Taylor Trammell to the M’s.