The Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners cranked up the “Hot Stove” Wednesday night with a trade involving young slugger Ryon Healy. Healy, 25, hit .271 with 25 home runs and 78 RBIs in 2017, and will fill the first base hole for Seattle. Both first basemen from SEA’s 2017 roster, Danny Valencia and Yonder Alonso, both acquired from Oakland, are free agents. Valencia struggled last season, as Seattle was among the worst performers at first base, compiling a -0.4 WAR, and Alonso, amidst a breakout season, was merely a rental. Now, they are set for the foreseeable future with Healy at first base.
In return, the Athletics will receive Emilio Pagan, and INF prospect Alexander Campos. Pagan posted a 3.22 ERA with Seattle last season, in 34 appearances. Campos is a high-rising prospect, who hit .290 at shortstop, second base, third base, and DH in the Dominican Summer League. He was also recently mentioned in a Six Man Rotation article for prospects under 18 to watch. This move shows Oakland will be sticking with Matt Olson at first base, and defensive wizard Matt Chapman at third base. Additionally, Khris Davis, who struggles on defense, could take the DH spot leaving no room for Healy in the Athletics plans. This should vastly improve their defense, which has been mediocre recently.
The most interesting side of the deal is for Seattle. Healy is expected to play first base full-time, taking free agents Carlos Santana, Logan Morrison, and Eric Hosmer out of the running for the Mariners. Now, they can pivot their attention to bolstering their outfield, or perhaps going after Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani. The Healy move is also cheap, as he is playing on his rookie contract. Therefore, Seattle could add a center fielder like former Royal Lorenzo Cain. Healy will likely remain at first going forward, as the DH spot is filled by Nelson Cruz. Healy has been an average defensive first baseman, but struggled at the hot corner. Luckily, they have Kyle Seager at third, and he will play close to all of the games there next season. While a guy like Santana and Hosmer could put them over the edge, DiPoto is looking to the future as well.
One issue that others may have is that the Mariners aren’t making a big splash, as their 17-year playoff drought continues. Unless if they add pitching or a center fielder, Seattle still projects to be a third or fourth place team. The M’s General Manager, Jerry DiPoto is now in a prime position to make a big splash, and doing so could put this team over the edge. Standing pat could lead to another year at .500, which certainly won’t sit well with fans, especially as sluggers Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz age.
Overall, the deal adds to Oakland’s stack of youngsters, and Seattle gets a cheaper and younger option at a premium position. This sets up both teams for very interesting offseasons, as they’ll have to fend off the Rangers, Angels (who recently re-signed Silver Slugger, Justin Upton), and the reigning World Series champions, the Houston Astros.
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