SHANNON DRAYER

Seattle Mariners Notebook: Catcher trade; no offer to Teoscar

Nov 6, 2023, 3:35 PM

Seattle Mariners Teoscar Hernández...

Teoscar Hernández of the Seattle Mariners at bat against the Los Angeles Angels on Sept. 11, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Seattle Mariners turned to a popular trade partner Monday afternoon to provide depth and competition at a position of need, swapping minor league catchers with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Seattle Mariners Offseason Primer: Who could be on their radar?

Coming to Seattle is former second-round draft pick Blake Hunt, who joined the Rays in 2020 as part of the San Diego Padres’ trade for Blake Snell. In 2023, Hunt split time between Double-A and Triple-A, slashing .256/.331/.484 (.815 OPS) in 281 plate appearances.

Hunt has been added to the Mariners’ 40-man roster and will be given a chance to compete for the backup catcher spot should Tom Murphy, who is now a free agent, not return.

Watch video of new Mariners prospect Blake Hunt

Heading Tampa’s way is Tatem Lewis, who was selected in the eighth round of the ’22 draft by Seattle after playing in college at Pittsburgh. Lewis spent the 2023 season at Low-A Modesto, where he slashed .286/.358/.476 (.834) in 66 games.

Earlier in the day, the Mariners created roster space by trading right-handed pitcher Riley O’Brien to the St. Louis Cardinals for cash considerations.

No qualifying offer to Teoscar Hernández

Add Hernández to the list of ex-Mariners, as reports have been confirmed that the club did not extend the right fielder the qualifying offer. Up until recent weeks, speculation was high that the club would extend the $20.325 million offer, making them eligible for draft pick compensation should he sign elsewhere, but it appears this was seen as a gamble.

Hernández, who should draw considerable interest in a thin free agent class, slashed .258/.305./.435 (.741) with 26 home runs and a career-high 211 strikeouts in 2023. Possibly encouraging for future suitors, his extreme home and away splits. He hit just .217/.263/.380 (.643) at T-Mobile Park while posting a line of .295/.344/.486 (.830) on the road.

In total, just seven MLB players were extended qualifying offers: Snell, Shohei Ohtani, Aaron Nola, Josh Hader, Cody Bellinger, Matt Chapman and Sonny Gray.

Teams who sign players who reject qualifying offers are subject to the loss of a draft pick, with their highest first-round pick protected.

Notes

• Although it was announced earlier this fall that all Seattle Mariners coaches would be asked to return, the feeling all along has been that an addition would eventually have to be made. That’s because it was not expected that the team would be able to keep bullpen coach Stephen Vogt. Considered a hot property in MLB from the day he was hired, Vogt indeed was one and done with the Mariners, as he has been hired to manage the Cleveland Guardians.

For more on Vogt landing with Cleveland, click here.

• Taking a look at the offseason calendar, there is lots to watch for this week.

Getting underway Tuesday are the annual general manager meetings, which will run through Thursday in Scottsdale, Ariz. Front offices and agents will be in one place, and while actual deals during the event are rare, this is where the initial contact, if not actual groundwork, for most offseason trades and signings is set. Media availabilities are also set, so expect to hear Tuesday from Mariners GM Justin Hollander and/or president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto.

Finalists for the BBWAA awards will be announced Monday afternoon.

The Silver Slugger Awards will be announced Thursday, Nov. 9. The Mariners have three finalists at their respective positions: catcher Cal Raleigh, outfielder Julio Rodríguez and shortstop J.P. Crawford.

More on the Seattle Mariners

M’s Notebook: News from Day 1 of the MLB offseason
Can the Mariners find their next Nelson Cruz this offseason?
Seattle Mariners lose reliever Penn Murfee to Mets on waiver claim
Morosi: Factors to watch in potential Seattle Mariners trade for Soto

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