Want Luis Robert’s bat in Mariners lineup? It may not be the right fit

Jun 14, 2024, 1:45 PM | Updated: 2:00 pm

Seattle Mariners Luis Robert JulioR odríguez =...

Chicago's Luis Robert Jr. and Julio Rodríguez of the Seattle Mariners on June 10, 2024. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Luis Robert Jr. left quite the impression on fans of the Seattle Mariners this week, crushing three home runs for the Chicago White Sox during a four-game series at T-Mobile Park – and that was with him not even starting one of those games.

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It was enough for some to wonder if he may be back in Seattle for a more permanent stay sometime in the next month and a half.

With the 18-52 White Sox in firm hold of the worst record in baseball, it stands to reason they’ll look to sell before the July 30 MLB trade deadline. And with the 40-31 Mariners leading the American League West by 5 1/2 games entering Friday despite a low-ranked offense, they seem like a prime candidate to go after a slugger like Robert.

Is it a fit? MLB Network insider Jon Morosi splashed some water on that fire Thursday when he joined Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob for their weekly conversation.

“He’s a fascinating player, and yet I don’t see quite enough of a complete upgrade for me to say that Robert is the kind of player the Mariners should get,” Morosi said.

Robert is supremely talented, but Morosi pointed to his strengths and weaknesses not fitting what the Mariners need to improve. The 26 year old owns a career .275/.324/.504 slash line for an .828 OPS, but his on-base percentage hasn’t exceeded .319 in a season since 2021. He also has struggled with injuries throughout his career and strikes out at a high rate, and the M’s currently have more strikeouts than any other team in baseball.

In addition to what Morosi said, there’s also the fact that Robert is a Gold Glove-winning center fielder. As mentioned in another MLB insider’s segment on Seattle Sports this week, that would likely add to Chicago’s asking price in trade talks, and that’s a premium the Mariners seem unlikely to pay since they have one of the best defensive center fielders in the game in Julio Rodríguez.

“I have some on-base-related concerns … There’s a lot of swing and miss. There is some home run potential, (but) he doesn’t really steal bases, he does not hit for a high average,” Morosi said. “… I think there are other players that are more durable and available than Robert who I would recommend ahead of him.”

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Who else besides Robert?

Morosi offered a few other names worth considering for the Mariners, though there is a caveat to add (we’ll get to that after the quote).

“I would much rather, to be honest with you, make a play for someone like Luis Rengifo with the Angels, maybe Taylor Ward there as well,” he said. “There are players that I think would change a bit more of the lineup’s feel and look than bringing in Luis Robert. I would rather have a Rengifo or a Ward than Robert – for me, in my opinion.

“I would even go – if you’re going to go with an outfielder – (with) Brenton Doyle, (who is) having a great year with Colorado. They’re always an interesting team to try to trade with because they just don’t really run their team like everybody else.”

The caveat here is that the Mariners make deals with just about every team, but the Angels and Rockies seem to be exceptions. While the M’s have made some transactions with division rivals in recent years – Houston in particular – M’s president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto was previously Angels general manager and really hasn’t dealt with his former organization since resigning from that position in 2015. As for the Rockies, it’s hard to think of the last time Seattle swung a trade with Colorado, though it’s equally as hard to come up for an explanation behind that.

When it comes to making the most of a golden opportunity like the Mariners seem to have this year, however, it’s no better time for all bets to be off.

Listen to the full Wyman and Bob conversation with MLB Network insider Jon Morosi in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post.

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Want Luis Robert’s bat in Mariners lineup? It may not be the right fit