The Seattle Mariners have made their first big move of the offseason by acquiring two-time Silver Slugger Award winner Teoscar Hernandez, which in turn raises some interesting questions.
There is little doubt the area the Seattle Mariners most need to improve is hitting. This was never so painfully exposed as during the 18-inning 1-0 loss to the Houston Astros, which ended their season.
On Wednesday the Mariners took a step towards rectify their offensive woes, by trading for Teoscar Hernandez. The move was announced by Executive Vice President and General Manager of Baseball Operations Justin Hollander.
In exchange for Hernandez, the Mariners sent pitchers Erik Swanson and Adam Macko to the Toronto Blue Jays. It represents a small price to pay for a two-time Silver Slugger Award winner.
Hernandez has been a consistent offensive threat during the past three season, with a strong slash line of .283/.333/.519. In this time he has hit 73 home runs and 227 RBIs. (And keep in mind this includes the Covid-impacted short season of 2020.)
Mariners President of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto gave his take on the acquisition. He said:
“We began our off-season with the intent to add impact and length to our lineup. In adding Teoscar to an already solid foundation, we feel we’ve become a far more dangerous offensive club.”
While the acquisition is an exciting move by the Mariners, it does come with some questions. For a start, how will Hernandez impact the defense in outfield?
The 30-year-old has excellent speed and a strong arm. However, he regularly performs below par in the right outfield.
In a related matter, the acquisition of Hernandez raises further doubts about the future of Mitch Haniger in Seattle. Aside from the fact Haniger also plays in the right outfield, the Mariners decided not to make him a qualifying offer.
The final question relates to how long Hernandez can expect to be in Seattle? He is set to earn around $14.1 million next season, before becoming a free agent.
Given the Mariners’ approach of building a long-term contender, going down the Luis Castillo road is a strong possibility. In other words, see how Hernandez performs next year and pending this, offer him a lucrative extension.
For now though, the Mariners are extremely happy with the addition of the 2021 All-Star. As Hollander said:
“Teoscar has been one of the better middle of the order bats in the American League and will be an exciting addition to our lineup as we look to strengthen our team and return to the playoffs in 2023.”
What’s your take on the Seattle Mariners trading for Hernandez? Is his acquisition worth it, even he turns out to essentially only be a one-year rental? Let us know in the comments section below.