Mariners trade Kelenic, Gonzales, White to Atlanta Braves
Dec 3, 2023, 8:10 PM | Updated: 8:35 pm
(Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
The Seattle Mariners have made a significant trade with Atlanta, sending three well-known players to the Braves.
The Mariners have dealt outfielder Jarred Kelenic, left-handed pitcher Marco Gonzales, first baseman Evan White and cash considerations to Atlanta for right-handed pitchers Cole Phillips and Jackson Kowar. Jeff Passan of ESPN and Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times reported the trade Sunday night. The Mariners confirmed the deal shortly after.
Sunday was the first day of MLB’s annual winter meetings, which is taking place this week in Nashville, Tenn.
“I want to thank Marco, JK and Evan for the contributions to our club,” Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto said in a press release. “All three played key roles at different stages of our growth over the past several seasons. As we continue to work through this offseason with a goal of improving our team for 2024 and beyond, we believe the additions of Jackson Kowar and Cole Phillips, as well as the roster and payroll flexibility created tonight, will move us closer to that goal.”
Here’s how Passan characterized the move on social media:
The Braves-Mariners deal was quite simply a money dump for Seattle. Atlanta takes on the salaries of White and Gonzales and gets Kelenic, whose upside remains tantalizing. Phillips was a second-round pick in 2022 and Kowar a first-rounder in 2018. @RyanDivish was on full deal.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 4, 2023
Phillips, a prospect, was ranked seventh in Atlanta’s farm system by MLB Pipeline. The 20 year old was a second-round pick in the 2022 MLB Draft out of high school but has yet to pitch in the pros after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Kowar, 27, was a first-round pick in 2018 by Kansas City. He has appeared in 39 MLB games over the past three seasons, all with the Royals, and was recently acquired by the Braves this offseason. He has a career 9.12 ERA over 39 MLB games, including eight starts.
The 24-year-old Kelenic is the most eye-opening name on the move in the deal. A 2018 first-rounder by the Mets, he enjoyed his best season in the majors with the M’s in 2023, slashing .253/.327/.419 for a .746 OPS with 11 home runs, 25 doubles, two triples and 13 stolen bases in 105 games. He missed nearly two months of action in the middle of the season due to a broken foot.
Kelenic was the centerpiece of the Mariners’ return in a blockbuster trade with the Mets prior to the 2018 season that sent All-Stars Robinson Canó and Edwin Díaz to New York.
Contract-wise, Kelenic is entering his last year of pre-arbitration.
Gonzales, 31, has enjoyed the most success in the big leagues among the players in the deal. He spent 6 1/2 seasons with Seattle, leading the league in starts in 2019 and shining with a 3.10 ERA and 9.14 strikeouts-to-walk ratio during the shortened 2020 season. He is working his way back from injury, having appeared in just 10 games in 2023 due to a forearm issue that required season-ending surgery.
Per Spotrac, Gonzales is due to make $12 million in 2024, the last year of a four-year, $30 million deal.
The 27-year-old White hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2021, dealing with a myriad of injuries that have prevented him from staying on the field. He was a Gold Glove winner at first base in 2020, his lone full season with the Mariners. The 2017 first-round selection by Seattle has a career slash line of .165/.235/.308 for a .544 OPS in 84 MLB games.
White signed a six-year, $24 million deal with Seattle prior to the 2020 season and is under contract through 2026, with team options keeping him under club control through 2028.