Despite speculation about Mitch Haniger’s future in the Pacific Northwest, the Seattle Mariners will not trade the outfielder.
With the Seattle Mariners fully committed to a full rebuild, their chances of ending the longest current postseason drought anytime soon seem remote. However, it is tough to criticize the course the franchise is following, when you consider the alternative route has not brought much success since 2001.
Regardless of if you agree with the direction the Mariners are taking, they have a lot to do between now and the start of spring training. This has led to a myriad of questions, including what the fate will be for Mitch Haniger?
There have been a lot of rumors recently regarding Haniger. More specifically where he could be traded to, with teams such as the Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians being mentioned as possible destinations.
This speculation gained momentum when The Athletic‘s Ken Rosenthal reported that the Mariners had been asked about the availability of Haniger. And yet, it’s tough to imagine the team trading him, despite last season’s injury-filled campaign.
The 28-year old was limited to 63 games in 2019, due to a ruptured testicle and back ailment. This led to a tough season, which was highlighted by a career-low .220 batting average.
Regardless, it is much too soon to give up on Haniger, and not just because the M’s still have three years of team control. This is still the same player who was viewed as a team leader heading into last season.
The 2012 first round draft pick started to fulfill his potential in 2018, as he set a host of career-highs. He was voted to his first All-Star Game and finished the season 11th in voting for the American League MVP.
With the type of injuries Haniger endured during 2019, it’s no surprise his production suffered. If he recovers, it will equally unsurprising to see him return to his All-Star form in 2020.
The Mariners still want to field a competitive team during the rebuild, which is where Haniger comes in. And if everything goes to plan, he would still be a key component on the roster when the rebuild is complete in the next two-three years.
In any event, General manager Jerry Dipoto has now spoken and confirmed he isn’t planning to trade the outfielder. As reported by Greg Johns of MLB.com, Dipoto said:
“First, here’s a really good player. He had an unfortunate injury that we had to be really patient with rehabbing, having never done anything like that before.
“But he projects as fully healthy; He looks great now…He embodies almost everything about what we stand for and what we’re trying to set up in our systems and our programs.”
Mariners fans must (continue) to be patient; it figures to be a long and frustrating road to becoming a competitive team. However — for now at least — Haniger should give them at least some reason to cheer.
What’s your take on Haniger? Do you think the Seattle Mariners should keep or trade him, and why? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.