The Mariners have kicked off their offseason in a major way.
Seattle has acquiring slugging outfielder Teoscar Hernández from the Toronto Blue Jays, the team announced Wednesday morning. It was first reported by ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
As was first reported by Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times, right-handed reliever Erik Swanson, who posted a 1.68 ERA for the Mariners in 2022, is heading to Toronto, as is left-handed pitching prospect Adam Macko, a 2019 seventh-round pick who has recently been pitching in the Arizona Fall League.
Swanson has three years left on his current contract while Macko is the Mariners’ No. 8 prospect, per MLB Pipeline. Hernández is entering the final year of arbitration and is set to enter free agency at the conclusion of the 2023 season.
Hernández, 30, finished 11th in MVP voting in the shortened 2020 season and won a Silver Slugger that year, and was an All-Star and Silver Slugger in 2021, when he slashed .296/.346/.524 with 32 home runs and 112 RBIs in 143 games for Toronto.
He slashed .267/.316/.491 with 25 home runs and 77 RBIs for the Jays in 131 games in 2022, and he notably hit two home runs against the Mariners in Game 2 of the Wild Card round in this season’s playoffs.
“We began our off-season with the intent to add impact and length to our lineup,” Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto said in a news release confirming the trade. “In adding Teoscar to an already solid foundation, we feel we’ve become a far more dangerous offensive club.”
“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,” Mariners GM Justin Hollander said.
For the Mariners, outfield was an area of need this offseason as Jesse Winker’s first year in Seattle was a major struggle, former top prospects Jarred Kelenic and Taylor Trammell have largely struggled in the majors and Mitch Haniger is hitting free agency.
Hernández has played most of his games in right field both for his MLB career and over the last few years, but overall in his career has played 311 games in right field compared to 239 in left field.
It’s easy to see why Hernández would catch the Mariners’ eye.
In 2022, even if his overall numbers were a tad down from his monster 2021 season, he was still a Statcast darling. His average exit velocity was in the 96th percentile – higher than Julio Rodriguez, for context – and his hard-hit rate was in the 98th percentile and his barrel rate was in the 94th percentile.
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