When Jerry Dipoto made blockbuster trade early on in the off-season where the Mariners traded pitcher TaiJuan Walker and shortstop Ketel Marte to the Arizona Diamondbacks the thought was that Jean Segura was the primary player acquired in the trade for the Mariners.
A few days later Dipoto said that outfielder Mitch Haniger could be that primary player instead. We find that maybe the Mariners have gotten two good players going into the 2017 season that can help them currently and in the future. Also they acquired left handed reliever Zach Curtis in the trade as well. It could be a couple years and we will find that the Mariners made quite the trade.
Whatever TaiJuan Walker and Marte do in Arizona it does look like the Mariners have made a trade that benefits them. At this point they upgraded at shortstop and likely in the outfield as well. Haniger will play a lot in right field however we will see him occasionally in left field and possibly in center as well. So far in spring training he has shown some of his power and is hitting over .400 along with having a strong arm and speed. He is able to run the bases pretty well. I am sure that he will steal some bases though not as many as Segura and Jarrod Dyson. Like many in the lineup he will go from first to third on hits to right field especially.
I think we will all be satisfied if Haniger will hit a batting average of between .250 and .275 for his first full year in the major leagues along with fifteen to twenty home runs. Any more would be a bonus to the Mariners. His defense will be an added plus to the Mariners outfield as well.
Whatever Haniger does over the season if the Mariners are able to make it to the playoffs and we hope the World Series he will be a good contributor to the team. Getting two everyday players into the lineup looks like a win-win situation to me and if both Haniger and Segura become all-stars we will even be more excited. Actually if one of them becomes an all-star the trade has to be in the Mariners favor even if TaiJuan Walker becomes an all-star pitcher.
One thing we do know is that the Mariners defense will be much better in 2017 over 2016. They have three solid defenders starting in Dyson, Martin and Haniger. Also whoever turns out to be the fourth outfielder should be fine as well. The important thing can they all three hit for a reasonable average and allow the Mariners to score more runs too. We will see before April will end I expect. Go M’s.