Seattle Mariners Check-In: Status report on offseason departures

Apr 16, 2023, 4:40 PM | Updated: Apr 18, 2023, 10:34 am

The Seattle Mariners got off to a slow initial start to the 2023 MLB season, and at the same time, some of their players from last season were doing the exact opposite with their new teams.

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Kyle Lewis, Jesse Winker and Adam Frazier specifically had big moments in their first weeks with Arizona, Milwaukee and Baltimore, respectively.

Now that the M’s have bounced back, finishing a sweep of the Rockies on Sunday to get to .500 at 8-8, have the fortunes also turned for those former M’s?

Kind of, as it turns out.

Let’s check in on some of the notable players who left the Seattle Mariners in the offseason.

Notable Seattle Mariners offseason departures

Kyle Lewis, OF/DH, Arizona

Traded by Mariners to Diamondbacks on Nov. 17, 2022 for C/OF Cooper Hummel.

Lewis’ D-backs career got off to an exciting start. He delivered his first pinch-hit home run, a two-run shot in the eighth inning, that proved to the game-winning knock in a 2-1 victory over the Dodgers on March 31.

Unfortunately for Lewis and Arizona, he hasn’t had much chance to add more highlights early on this season. He has just three hits on the season with nine strikeouts to no walks, and he has been out of action since April 7 due to an illness that landed him on the 10-day injured list.

Lewis, who has battled knee issues throughout his career, most notably since suffering a meniscus tear in 2021, has served as designated hitter four times and played the outfield in just two innings. He is noticeably wearing a knee brace this season.

Revenge games: The Mariners visit the Diamondbacks from July 28-30 at Phoenix’s Chase Field.

Jesse Winker, DH, Milwaukee

Traded by Mariners to Brewers with Abraham Toro for Kolten Wong and cash on Dec. 2, 2022.

The 29-year-old Winker is enjoying a good start to his season with Milwaukee, but he’s at risk of that being interrupted just as his new team is set to visit his old team.

Winker was scratched from the Brewers’ lineup Sunday due to right oblique tightness, and the Brewers are coming to Seattle for a three-game series starting Monday against the Mariners. If Winker needs an injured list stint, that would rule him out for playing against the M’s in 2023 (barring a trade).

When Winker has been healthy (he missed a five-game stretch due to bronchitis, the coughing from which he believes is reason for his sore oblique, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Todd Rosiak), he’s been productive for Milwaukee. Having been deployed exclusively as a designated hitter in nine games with the Brew Crew, he is hitting .300 with three doubles, nine RBIs and a .789 OPS.

Revenge games: The Brewers are next on the Mariners’ schedule for a three-game set at T-Mobile Park.

Mitch Haniger, OF, Giants

Signed with Giants as a free agent on Dec. 6, 2022.

The 32-year-old Haniger has yet to debut for his childhood team. The Bay Area native was sidelined during spring training with an oblique strain, and he suffered a setback early this month due to back tightness. The one-time All-Star appeared in four Cactus League games for the Giants, going 3 for 10 with three doubles.

Revenge games: The Mariners will be in San Francisco from July 3-5 for three games at Oracle Park.

Adam Frazier, 2B/OF, Orioles

Signed with Orioles as a free agent on Dec. 15, 2022.

If there’s any one player that Mariners fans may be wishing the team still had, it’s probably Frazier. While new M’s second baseman Kolten Wong has had a rough first few weeks with Seattle, the man he replaced looked like the guy who started at second for the 2021 National League All-Star team early on.

Frazier, 31, went 8 for 24 to start the season, including three doubles and a home run.

Frazier has cooled off some in the week since, however, dropping his season numbers to a .250/.333/.375 slash for a .708 OPS. I would still keep an eye on him throughout the season, as he seems like a good fit for Baltimore’s ballpark and the AL East in general where there tends to either be bigger outfields or short porches in right, and where fly balls hang up less than on the West Coast. Frazier was on his way to a career year with Pittsburgh, which has a spacious outfield, until he was traded before the 2021 trade deadline to the Padres, who he struggled with similar to his time with the M’s.

Revenge games: The M’s go to Baltimore for three games at Camden Yards from June 23-25, then host the Orioles from Aug. 11-13.

Erik Swanson, RHP, Blue Jays

Traded by Mariners to Blue Jays with Adam Macko for Teoscar Hernández on Nov. 16, 2022.

Last year’s lefty specialist out of the Mariners’ bullpen (yes, despite him being right-handed) has been steady in relief for Toronto. In nine appearances, he has allowed just two runs on four hits and five walks for a 2.16 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. Utilizing his trademark splitter, he has eight strikeouts over 8 1/3 innings and has six scoreless outings of at least one inning under his belt.

Revenge games: The Blue Jays welcome the M’s to the new-look Rogers Centre at the end of this month (April 28-30), then come to T-Mobile Park for the annual rowdy three-game weekend series in front of fans from western Canada from July 21-23.

Carlos Santana, 1B/DH, Pirates

Signed with Pirates as a free agent on Nov. 29, 2022.

The veteran switch-hitter is giving the Pirates the same kind of production he brought to Seattle as a midseason trade pickup last year. In 15 games, he has a .228/.313/.421 slash for a .734 OPS with two homers, five doubles and seven walks for Pittsburgh.

The Pirates are off to a 9-7 start, but I would keep an eye on their place in the standings this year. If any player who the Mariners parted ways with in the offseason could make his way back to Seattle in a trade, it’s Santana. Not only could the M’s conceivably be in the market for a DH type in a month or three, but Santana was a key leader in the clubhouse during their run to the playoffs in 2022.

Revenge games: The Pirates will be in Seattle from May 26-28.

Matthew Boyd, LHP, Tigers

Signed with Tigers as a free agent on Dec. 14, 2022.

The Mercer Island native had a fun stint helping his hometown team break its postseason drought last year, pitching well in 10 relief appearances. He hit free agency soon after and returned not just to Detroit, where he played from 2015-21, but also to a starting role.

In two outings with the Tigers, the 32-year-old southpaw has allowed four runs over nine innings with strikeouts to seven walks.

Revenge games: The Mariners go to Detroit’s Comerica Park from May 12-14, then host the Tigers in the first series out of the All-Star break from July 14-16.

Other Mariners offseason departures

Jake Lamb, 1B, Angels: 10 games, 5 for 29 (M’s-Angels play next June 9-11 in Anaheim)
Curt Casali, C, Reds: Six games, 3 for 18 (M’s at Reds, Sept. 4-6)
Luis Torrens, C/DH, Cubs: Six games, 2 for 7 (No more M’s-Cubs games scheduled)
Ryan Borucki, LHP, Cubs: Currently with Triple-A Iowa (No more M’s-Cubs games scheduled)
Abraham Toro, IF, Brewers: Currently with Triple-A Nashville (Brewers at M’s, Mon.-Wed.)

More on the Seattle Mariners

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Fann: Diving into breakout for Kelenic, and what it means for Mariners
Bob Stelton’s Seattle Mariners Breakdown: Is the real Kelenic here?
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