The Mariners’ best deadline option may be ‘buy-and-sell’ trade

Jun 19, 2023, 10:15 AM

Seattle Mariners Teoscar Hernández...

The Seattle Mariners' Teoscar Hernández hits a solo home run on June 16, 2023. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

This month, Teoscar Hernández has hit much more like the slugger the Seattle Mariners were hoping for when they made an offseason trade with the Toronto Blue Jays than he did for the first two months of the 2023 season.

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In 14 games in June, the powerful right fielder owns a slash line of .353/.431/.627 for a .978 OPS with three home runs, three doubles, a triple and 11 RBIs. The Mariners, however, are still well off where they are hoping to be, going into a six-game road trip beginning at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday with a 35-35 record, which is fourth in the American League West.

On Friday’s edition of Wyman and Bob, MLB Network insider Jon Morosi shared his view on what it would mean if the Mariners fell short of the playoffs, which we covered in the article at this link. He also proposed an option that may present itself ahead of the Aug. 1 MLB trade deadline that has to do with Hernández’s recent play and where Seattle stands.

“This is the kind of a year where you can contemplate the big move because you’re looking at the lineup and saying, ‘You know what? This group right now is not quite what we what we envisioned.’ And by that, I mean you would be trading one of your pieces for a really controllable, long-term piece,” Morosi said.

What Morosi has in mind is what he called a “buy-and-sell trade” where the Mariners would be selling off a productive player in the last year of his contract who would be a rental for the other team in the trade, and that could bring in a younger player with more years on his deal that could help Seattle’s core make a run in 2024 and later.

Hernández is an obvious fit for that scenario, as the two-time Silver Slugger and 2021 All-Star is set to be a free agent after this season.

“Potentially trading him at the deadline could fit as a sort of buy-and-sell type of a move,” Morosi said of Hernández. “(Current Mariners president of baseball operations and former general manager) Jerry Dipoto is a GM who has always been able to do both when needed. Let’s say that there’s a team that needs one more right-handed bat for a corner outfield spot or DH, and if the Mariners are about where they’re at right now at the end of July, I would test the market for him and see if in that type of a deal you can get back a maybe a younger version of him, maybe a middle infielder that that would effectively replace (Kolten) Wong on the roster. … You’re not trading him for an A-ball prospect, but you’re getting a young major leaguer, and I do think that if he picks it up and keeps hitting like this, that could be one option available to Jerry Dipoto and (Mariners general manager) Justin Hollander as we get towards Aug. 1.”

Morosi said it’s “OK” if the Mariners fall short of expectations this season, meaning that their window of contention is just opening thanks to their roster’s general youth and amount of control Seattle has over its core players, in particular the pitching staff. With that in mind, taking a step back at the trade deadline this season to bolster their chances in 2024 would make a lot of sense to him.

“This is the kind of a year where you’re not looking at this as saying, ‘We’re one piece away from winning the World Series,'” he said. “It’s, ‘Hey, if we’re gonna make a trade in the next six weeks, it had better be looked at as the first move of building a championship team for 2024 as opposed to the finishing touch on the World Series team of 2023.'”

Listen to the whole Wyman and Bob conversation with Morosi at this link or in the player near the top of this article.

More on the Seattle Mariners

Notebook: What the M’s are looking for from rookie SP Bryan Woo
Have the Mariners found their DH? Dipoto talks Mike Ford’s play
Dipoto: What rookie 2B José Caballero has that’s ‘off the charts’ good
How the Seattle Mariners will manage their young pitchers’ workloads
How will the Seattle Mariners fit into Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes?

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