Seattle Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto recently held his end of the season press conference. One major takeaway from this was that he noted the Mariners will be aggressive this offseason and intend to clear the path to the major leagues for a few of their top prospects.
The Mariners currently have the top ranked farm system. Their #1 ranked prospect, outfielder Julio Rodriguez, is anticipated to make his major league debut in 2022. He would join an outfield core of Jake Fraley, Jarred Kelenic, Kyle Lewis, Taylor Trammell, and veteran Mitch Haniger.
Haniger is currently their best offensive outfielder, but he could be a good trade candidate this offseason. Dipoto has not specifically indicated this, but a major reason behind why to move him is because his star outfielder has just one year of arbitration left before he is set to hit free agency. His 2022 arbitration projection is $8.5MM.
The Brewers should target Mitch Haniger in a trade this off-season to help bolster their offense.
2021 was Haniger’s most productive season. He mashed 39 home runs, drove in 100 batters, and finished the season with a 122 OPS+. He has always had a lot of pop in his left handed swing, but this year he was able to take it to a new level.
If this were to happen, Haniger would join Christian Yelich, Jackie Bradley Jr, and Lorenzo Cain in what would make for another crowded outfield. Avisail Garcia did not receive a qualifying offer and likely will pursue a larger contract elsewhere. Haniger joining the Crew would also re-unite him with newly appointed co-hitting coach Connor Dawson.
Even with just one year of club control remaining, trading for Haniger will require parting ways with some good players. The Mariners are in need of pitching, in particular starting pitchers. Perhaps they could send a low end starter and a pitching prospect to get a deal done.
My trade proposal would look along the lines like this.
Brewers receive: OF Mitch Haniger, LHP Aaron Fletcher
Mariners Receive: P Adrian Houser
A trade like this would benefit both teams. The Mariners would receive a pitcher in Adrian Houser who is coming off a career year and has three years of control remaining. They need help in that rotation and Houser can provide that.
For the Brewers, their offense sputtered in the post-season and adding a power bat is a priority. Secondly, even though Haniger has just one year of control left, this may not be a bad thing. If he would elect to sign elsewhere after the 2022 season, their would then be a path for top prospects Garrett Mitchell, Sal Frelick, and Joey Wiemer. If the Brewers pursued someone else with more years of control than those two prospects could potentially get blocked.
Fletcher is a talented young arm with plenty of years of control that could be a solid piece of the Brewers bullpen going forward.
Moving Houser would allow the Brewers to clear room for top prospects Aaron Ashby and Ethan Small in the rotation while still keeping the rotation strong and upgrading the offense.
Historically, the Brewers and Mariners have worked well together. Perhaps they can agree on a much larger deal this off-season and bring Mitch Haniger to Milwaukee.