The Seattle Mariners are sellers this off-season having already made five trades this off-season, including shipping out Robinson Cano, James Paxton and Mike Zunino. Could any players be on the trading block be of interest to the Milwaukee Brewers?
It’s been quick, but five trades in 27 days has cleared any resemblance of the 2018 roster in the emerald city. That however doesn’t mean the Mariners don’t have a few players that have some trade value to the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Brewers removed Jonathan Schoop from their roster last week, which has opened up a starting spot in the middle infield.
2B Dee Gordon, 30
When Dee Gordon was traded from Miami to Seattle, no one was sure why since the team had Robinson Cano playing on second base. Seattle answered the question quickly, putting the speedy Gordon in center field to start the season.
During Cano’s 80-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, Gordon was asked to shift from the outfield, back to his natural position. In a career 604 games at second base Gordon’s glove has been superb, committing only 47 errors with a career .983 fielding percentage.
Where Gordon’s glove was strong in 2018, his bat didn’t share similar success in Seattle. In 141 games, he hit .268/.288/.349 with 149 hits, all below his career averages. His speed was still on display as he stole 30 bases, including his 300th career stolen base in 2018.
One of Gordon’s weaknesses however is his walk rate, taking a lowly nine walks in 588 plate appearances. During Gordon’s eight year career he has only walked a total of 145 times in 3,601 times to bat, or just 4%. Compare that to Brewers’ third baseman Travis Shaw, who played 39 games at 2nd base in 2018, he walked 78 times in 587 plate appearances, or almost 14% of the time he came to the plate.
Jonathan Schoop, the player Gordon would be replacing, also had trouble drawing walks, holding a 3.7% BB rate over his career.
The other knock on Gordon might also be his contract. Currently, he is owed $13.5 million per year for the next three seasons, which is not something the Crew might want to take on, since they aren’t looking to fill the position long-term with external candidates.
OF Mitch Haniger, 27
One reason the Brewers might be tempted to bring in Gordon would be if the Mariners made Mitch Haniger available in a package deal.
The former Brewers’ 1st round pick in the 2012 MLB draft, has played well since making the leap to full-time major leaguer in 2017 with Seattle. In 253 career games, Haniger has slashed a respectable .284/.361/.492 with 42 home runs, 140 RBIs, and 63 doubles. Unlike teammate Dee Gordon, he has 101 walks since 2017, and earned his first career All-Star selection in 2018.
With a stacked outfield and depth in the minors, why make a move for Haniger? His four years of team control, and a low price tag, as well as proven talent, could entice the Brewers to slide him in to the outfield next to Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich through the 2022 season.
However, if the Milwaukee Brewers were to acquire Haniger, veteran Ryan Braun would need to get traded elsewhere to clear playing time, which is easier said than done.
What would it take?
Remember last offseason when the Brewers traded four prospects for Yelich and many thought that price was too steep? Well it may have seemed like it on paper, but often major league talent vs. minor league prospects don’t always add up in reality. While Yelich went on to win National League Most Value Player, the four players the Brewers sent away saw little to no playing time at the major league level, including former top prospect Lewis Brinson.
Haniger would be the real key piece in any deal, but Gordon’s money is what the Mariners would most likely want to move. Seattle GM Jerry Dipoto most likely want a package of Major League ready players or top prospects that are close.
Players like Keon Broxton, Domingo Santana, Eric Thames, Zach Davies and Chase Anderson might interest the Mariners but most likely they will want prospects like outfielder Corey Ray, third baseman Lucas Erceg, Dubon as well as a young pitcher like Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes, or Zack Brown.
Dipoto and Milwaukee Brewers GM David Stearns haven’t had any trades with one another since the Adam Lind for Freddy Peralta, Carlos Herrera and Daniel Missaki trade in December 2015. This off-season could be the chance to maybe make another trade.