The Mariners swung an early trade this month, acquiring outfielder Teoscar Hernandez from the Blue Jays, but they may not be done adding outfielders. According to Daniel Kramer of MLB.com, the team has checked in on top outfield free agents Andrew Benintendi and Brandon Nimmo. It comes after president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto told reporters he was open to bringing in another outfielder.
Seattle currently has Julio Rodriguez and Hernandez locked into center and right field respectively, but left field could be open. Jesse Winker has played poor defense in left and struggled at the plate last season, and there’s been some reports that the Mariners could be open to moving him. Jarred Kelenic and Taylor Trammell have both struggled in the big leagues, but they’re also former top prospects who are young enough to turn things around. Yet it’s clear this Mariners team is in win-now mode, so wouldn’t be surprising to see them pursue upgrades.
Nimmo seems less likely than Benintendi. He’s the clear top outfield free agent after an outstanding platform year that saw him post a 134 wRC+ and amass 5.4 fWAR. MLBTR predicted him to earn a five-year, $110MM deal this winter. With Rodriguez entrenched in center, Seattle could theoretically shift Nimmo to left, but there’s a lack of quality center field options available in free agency and a number of teams who need upgrades there. Given the price tag attached and the level of interest across the league, it seems unlikely Seattle would win a bidding war against teams operating with a bit more urgency at the position.
Benintendi doesn’t possess the upside of Nimmo, but still represents a quality option. His strong contact approach could make him a strong fit to leadoff ahead of Rodriguez, Hernandez, Eugenio Suarez and the other Seattle power hitters. Between the Royals and Yankees in 2022, he posted a .304/.373/.399 line with five home runs while providing solid defense in left. He’d also come a lot cheaper than Nimmo, as MLBTR predicted him to land a four-year, $54MM contract.
While Benintendi and Nimmo are the two reported names, a number of other options would also make sense, including a reunion with Mitch Haniger, Michael Conforto or Cody Bellinger, not to mention a host of trade possibilities. Any addition could see Kelenic and Trammell floated in trade discussions. They’d be selling low on both, but teams would surely be interested in acquiring either to try and tap into the potential that made them both top outfield prospects in all of baseball.
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