The Seattle Mariners were hoping to compete in the 2023 season after breaking their playoff drought in 2022, but they became sellers when they traded closer Paul Sewald to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Mariners also traded AJ Pollock and Mark Mathias to the San Francisco Giants.
It is clear that the Mariners do not fully believe that they will make the postseason in 2023. They currently sit at 55-51, five games out in the American League West, and 3.5 games out in the wild card chase. While it is not impossible, Jerry Dipoto seemingly has already decided the direction that they are going in ahead of this deadline.
Jerry Dipoto's trades on Monday signal that the Mariners are sellers at this trade deadline, and if they truly want to get value out of selling at this deadline, there is one move that they should absolutely make before Tuesday's 6 p.m. ET deadline.
This offseason, Jerry Dipoto made a splash move by trading for Teoscar Hernandez from the Toronto Blue Jays. It was seen as a very good move at the time. Teoscar Hernandez was a very productive offensive player with the Blue Jays from 2020 through 2022. Even before that, Hernandez was a better offensive player than he was this year from 2017 through 2019, according to Fangraphs' wRC+ statistic.
Teoscar Hernandez currently has a 93 wRC+, which is in line to be the worst in his career. His next lowest was a 95 wRC+ in his rookie season with the Houston Astros in 2016, when he played in 41 games, according to Fangraphs.
Going from Toronto to Seattle, Hernandez moved from a good ballpark for hitters to one that is much tougher. It seems that Hernandez has felt that in the 2023 season.
Another component in all of this is that Hernandez is in his final year of arbitration, which means that he is a free agent after this season. Seeing the impact that playing in T-Mobile Park has had on Hernandez this season, it would not make much sense for the Mariners to bring him back, knowing that he is not going to produce to his full potential in their ballpark.
Given Hernandez's production from his days with the Blue Jays, there undoubtedly will be teams around the majors who believe that he could recapture that with a change of scenery and perhaps a ballpark that is more friendly to him offensively.
Jerry Dipodo has decided to sell, and the Mariners are not getting the best out of Hernandez anyway. They should absolutely get the value that they can for him ahead of the MLB Trade Deadline. It would likely be the best case for Hernandez's career, and it would be the best for the Mariners as well.
Although a late playoff run is possible for Seattle, Hernandez's contributions are not making a huge difference as to whether or not the Mariners will ultimately make or miss the postseason.
The Mariners still do have a decent core to be competitive with in the foreseeable future, built around Julio Rodriguez. They could add players from a minor league system who are close to debuting in the major leagues as well. Executing a trade like that with Teoscar Hernandez would be a way to look towards the future, but set up the Mariners for success as soon as the 2024 season. It will be intriguing to see what Dipoto decides to do by the 6 p.m. ET deadline.