Mariners, Diamondbacks To Swap Kyle Lewis, Cooper Hummel

The Mariners and Diamondbacks are in agreement on a trade that would see outfielder Kyle Lewis head to Arizona and catcher/outfielder Cooper Hummel go to Seattle, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN. It’s a one-for-one swap of big leaguers.

Lewis is certainly the more well-known of the players involved. Seattle’s first-round pick in 2016, he bounced back from an ACL tear in his right knee suffered during his first professional season to climb the minor league ranks. The Mercer University product made it to the bigs late in the 2019 season, and he looked as if he’d cemented himself as a key piece of the organization the next season.

During the abbreviated 2020 campaign, Lewis appeared in 58 games and tallied 242 plate appearances. He connected on 11 home runs and walked in a fantastic 14% of his plate appearances en route to a .262/.364/.437 line. That offensive production was 27 percentage points above league average, by measure of wRC+, and it earned him the American League Rookie of the Year award.

Few would’ve imagined Lewis would only spend two more years in Seattle coming off that season, but he’s rapidly fallen down the depth chart. That’s less due to performance than an unfortunate series of injuries in his right knee, which has proven consistently problematic. Lewis began the 2021 campaign on the injured list, and an April return proved brief. He went back on the shelf in early June, and the M’s subsequently announced he’d suffered a meniscus tear. He ended up missing the remainder of the season and wasn’t recovered in time for the start of this year.

Lewis opened the 2022 campaign back on the IL. He was reinstated on May 25, nearly a full calendar year since his previous MLB game. After a handful of games, he unfortunately suffered a concussion and spent another two months on the IL. Lewis returned from the IL in late July, played in 14 more games, then was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma. He spent the rest of the season there but had a solid showing, putting up a .245/.362/.517 line with 12 homers through 42 games there.

There’s obvious risk for the D-Backs in taking on a player who has appeared in just 54 MLB contests over the past two years. He’s never topped 58 big league games in a season and has only 130 career games and 526 plate appearances under his belt. Yet it’s similarly easy to see the appeal for general manager Mike Hazen and his group in rolling the dice on Lewis’ upside. During his lone healthy season, he showed the obvious power and plate discipline combination that made him such a well-regarded prospect. There’s a fair bit of swing-and-miss in his game, but he has a chance to be a middle-of-the-order caliber bat if healthy.

More to come.

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