The Seattle Mariners are banking on a bounce-back season from 2021 All-Star Teoscar Hernandez.
Per ESPN's Jeff Passan, the Mariners have acquired the 30-year-old outfielder from the Toronto Blue Jays. Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reported the Mariners will deal relief pitcher Erik Swanson and pitching prospect Adam Macko in exchange for Hernandez.
Swanson will provide a boost to Toronto's bullpen. The right-hander was excellent with a 1.68 ERA, 70 strikeouts and just three homers allowed over 53.2 innings in 57 appearances last season.
FanGraphs' Eric Longenhagen ranked Macko as the 10th-best prospect in Seattle's farm system last season. The 21-year-old left-hander was a seventh-round draft pick in 2019. He struck out 60 with a 3.99 ERA in 38.1 innings in High-A but didn't pitch after May 21 with an unspecified injury.
The 2022 season was disappointing for Hernandez. He hit .267/.316/.491 with 25 homers and 77 RBI in 131 games. His 127 OPS+ was the third-highest mark of his career in a full season, but it was a step down from the previous two years.
In 193 games in 2020 and 2021, Hernandez had a .295/.345/.538 slash line with 84 extra-base hits. He made the American League All-Star team in 2021 and set career highs in homers (32) and RBI (116).
While he's coming off a down year, it's surprising to see a Blue Jays team with playoff aspirations move on from Hernandez without an obvious replacement in place. He is entering the final season of arbitration with a projected salary of $14.5 million, per Spotrac.
Adding Hernandez allows the Mariners to tinker with their outfield and designated hitter rotations. Newly minted AL Rookie of the Year Julio Rodriguez will continue to handle center field.
Jesse Winker in left field has been a below-average defender throughout their career. Winker had the ninth-worst defensive value rating among qualified players in 2022 (minus-12.8), per FanGraphs.
Mitch Haniger, who was Seattle's primary starter in right field, is a free agent. The acquisition of Hernandez would seem to indicate the Mariners are moving on from Haniger.
Hernandez can play both corner outfield spots, though he's also been below-average with the glove for most of his career. He has been an above-average hitter over the past five seasons with the Blue Jays. This is a great buy-low acquisition for a Mariners team looking to build after ending a 21-year playoff drought last season.