How Kelenic fits into possibility of Mariners trading for Bryan Reynolds

Dec 19, 2022, 2:01 PM
Mariners Jarred Kelenic...
Jarred Kelenic of the Seattle Mariners at bat against the Texas Rangers at T-Mobile Park on September 28, 2022. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

With many of the top free-agent bats off the market, Mariners fans looking for their team to upgrade are likely now turning to the trade market. And when it comes to a potential trade, one name stands out above the rest.

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That would be All-Star outfielder Bryan Reynolds of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The switch-hitting slugger has reportedly been on the Mariners’ radar for some time, and he formally asked for a trade a few weeks ago. Reynolds is 27 years old and has three years remaining on his contract before free agency.

When it comes to a trade for Reynolds, a few things stand out to MLB Network insider Jon Morosi, who shared his thoughts on the All-Star outfielder and the Mariners during a Wednesday visit with Seattle Sports 710 AM’s Wyman and Bob.

“There’s also room, by the way, for Jarred Kelenic to take a step. He’s still a relatively young player,” Morosi said.

Kelenic is a former top prospect who made his MLB debut in 2021. His first two seasons at the MLB level haven’t gone well, and he’s been demoted to Triple-A Tacoma multiple times. As the Mariners’ roster currently stands, Kelenic is expected to be a starting outfielder heading into 2023.

“As we’ve talked about before, there are flashes of what Kelenic can do for you,” Morosi said. “This to me seems like, unless they make a more dramatic move here and potentially trade for a Bryan Reynolds and have him play left field – which I would be surprised if they did that – this is going to be Kelenic’s chance.”

The Mariners are a team “that is pretty darn close” to being completed, Morosi said. He thinks the additions of outfielder Teoscar Hernandez and second baseman Kolten Wong are notable and provide upgrades over last year’s roster. But Morosi thinks Seattle ultimately will add another bat,. But will it be Reynolds?

“I think it’s the asking price. … I think (the Pirates are) going to ask for at least two top 100 industry prospects. You’d have to give up two of your four very, very best prospects to make that deal happen,” Morosi said. “And there may be some fans that say, ‘Listen, do it. You’ve finally got a chance, you’re back in the playoffs, let’s do it. Let’s trade Emerson Hancock, let’s trade Harry Ford, the whole group. Let’s get everybody in the deal that you have to.'”

But when talking that out, Morosi again brought up Kelenic.

“What I wonder is, if Kelenic ends up being 70-80% as good as Reynolds – which is possible, I’m not gonna say it’s likely, but I still think that player is in there,” Morosi said. “… If your assessment is that Kelenic can be about 70% as good as Reynolds, is that gap worth it enough to you to give away Harry Ford or Emerson Hancock or Gabriel Gonzalez in a deal? And I think right now the answer is probably no. If the price drops a little bit, maybe they give it some thought, but Emerson Hancock can help this team out in 2023. I get it if fans say, ‘Hey, give us Reynolds’ – that’s the guy to ask for. I’m just not sure if he offers you twice the value of what Kelenic is.”

You can listen to the full conversation with Morosi in the podcast at this link or in the player below.

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