Seattle Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto said he was going to attack the outfielder market this offseason, and he wasted no time.
The Mariners acquired All-Star outfielder Teoscar Hernandez from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for right-handed pitcher Erik Swanson and left-handed pitching prospect Adam Macko.
Since becoming a full-time player in 2018, Hernandez owns an .819 OPS, having hit at least 22 home runs in each full season (he hit 16 in the shortened 2020 season).
He won Silver Slugger awards in 2020 and 2021, and he was named an All-Star in 2021.
Last season, Hernandez belted 25 homers in 131 games. He’s had trouble playing a full season. His career high is 143 games in 2021. But with Mitch Haniger now a free agent, the Mariners filled his spot and improved it.
“We began our offseason with the intent to add impact and length to our lineup,” Dipoto said, via the Seattle Times. “In adding Teoscar to an already solid foundation, we feel we’ve become a far more dangerous offensive club.”
The Mariners, who made the postseason for the first time since 2001, eliminated Hernandez’s Blue Jays in the AL wild-card round before getting swept by the eventual World Series champion Houston Astros in the ALDS.
The Blue Jays obviously are taking a hit in their outfield, but their bullpen definitely improves with Swanson, who pitched to a 1.68 ERA, striking out 70 batters in 53.2 innings.
Macko reached high-A in the minors, where he struck out 60 batters in 38.1 innings, pitching to a 3.99 ERA.
Hernandez now joins an outfield with Rookie of the Year Julio Rodriguez. The left fielder is to be determined, but the two options are Jesse Winker and Jarred Kelenic, who was once a top prospect in baseball but has struggled in the big leagues.
Hernandez, 30, is slated to be a free agent after the 2023 season.