Mariners Acquire All-Star Teoscar Hernandez From Blue Jays

Toronto’s Teoscar Hernandez celebrates his 2-run homer off Mariner’s starting pitcher Robbie Ray in the second inning as the Seattle Mariners played the Toronto Blue Jays in Game 2 of the American League Wild Card Game Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022,, at Rogers Centre, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times)

The Seattle Mariners made quite a start to the offseason by agreeing to a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays for Teoscar Hernandez in exchange for RHP Erik Swanson and LHP Adam Macko. Not only does Hernandez fill an outfield hole that Jerry Dipoto brought up at the start of free agency, but he plugs into the lineup as a power bat the Mariners desperately needed. Hernandez hit .267 with 25 bombs and 77 RBIs last season per Baseball Reference, where he hit for average and power. He does have a 28% strikeout rate in 2022, but for the Mariners, they’ll take the strikeouts if it means more overall offensive production.

What’s intriguing about the acquisition of Hernandez, is that he now fills one of the outfield spots full-time, leaving the question of what to do with Jarred Kelenic and whether or not Seattle re-signs Mitch Haniger. The Mariners did not extend the qualifying offer to Haniger, which makes him an outright free agent. They could resign him to play right field, or perhaps they give Kelenic or Taylor Trammell the opportunity to play it full-time. Regardless, adding Hernandez to pair with Julio Rodriguez in the outfield ultimately makes the Mariners better than they were before the trade offensively.

The return for Toronto was fair, as Swanson was arguably Seattle’s best reliever last year. Swanson had a low 1.68 ERA with 70 strikeouts in the best season of his career. Macko was the other pitcher in the deal, and he is more of a prospect that is coming off an injury but has a decent upside. With Seattle having such a deep pitching core, Swanson and Macko were basically expendable and worth the acquisition of a quality bat.

It’s a great start to what should continue to be an active offseason for the Mariners. Hernandez solidifies their outfield hole and will provide much more offensive production than they had last year there. He’ll fit right into the clubhouse and help push the Mariners back to the postseason.