Reports are out for the Mariners first move during hot stove Mike Zunino and Guillermo Heredia will be traded to the Tampa Bay Rays for outfielder Mallex Smith. Each team will exchange minor league players as well.
This all reported after Zunino received the Wilson Award as the best defensive catcher in baseball. Jerry Dipoto is willing to make any trades he feels should improve the Mariners. Though he is a top notch receiver he hasn’t been able to do the same at the plate. He has been able to hit at least 20 home runs a season but his batting average has been around the .200 mark. In 2017 he did have a period where he hit well and batted in the .250 mark. If he was able to hit around that mark or somewhere between .200 and .250 like say .230 he would still be a Mariner.
Guillermo Heredia the Mariners felt was disposal as well since he hit .238 over the last season though he was close to .300 early on in the season. He showed he was really made to be a part-time player though he was among the best defensively especially in left field. If he would have stayed with the Mariners he would have platooned in left field with Ben Gamel and on occasion in center field.
Mallex Smith who is expected to be the center fielder for the Mariners had a good rookie season with the Rays. He previous had been with the Mariners for a short period like 77 minutes when they acquired Drew Smyly a couple years ago. The Mariners had picked him up from the Atlanta Braves before him along. He had a .296 batting average this last season with the Rays with a .367 on-base percentage. Also he stole 40 bases as well. He could be what the Mariners were hoping for Dee Gordon in center field well as the lead-off hitter since he is able to walk. If he is the lead-off hitter for the Mariners they may move Mitch Haniger to clean up in place of Nelson Cruz. We are not sure at this time whether the Mariners will have Cruz return. This move will show Dee Gordon will be back at second base if they don’t trade him away. This is the case Robinson Cano will be at first base along with spending time at dh. Another question does it mean the Mariners will trade Ryon Healy. There was talk Kansas City was interested in Healy. If Healy does return with the Mariners he could spend time at first base and dh as well. The question to is where does this leave Daniel Vogelbach. Will he be the dh against right handed pitching or he be traded as well.
Right now the Mariners will have one catcher in David Freitas so they will need to pick up another catcher. The question to will they sign a catcher in free agency or pick one up in a trade. Right now they don’t have anyone else ready in the minor leagues. They could pick up a catcher that shares the spot with Freitas as well. In this case I would like to see them get a left handed hitting catch. They did have one in Chris Herrmann before releasing him. So the questions do continue for the Mariners and they could be answered real soon.