After dealing away Seth Smith today, the Mariners are looking to acquire another outfielder, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). The team doesn’t have a strong preference between a right-handed and left-handed-hitting piece, per the report, though it’s not immediately clear whether the M’s are looking at a particular target.
While Seattle’s trade of Smith bolstered the organization’s rotation depth by returning Yovani Gallardo, it’s hard to say that was the sole motivation. The club had reportedly been looking to move Smith for some time, after all, perhaps due to an inclination to make better use of payroll space and perhaps also due to the addition late last year of lefty corner piece Ben Gamel.
It’s fair to wonder, though, whether the Mariners have their eye on a strike to add a regular or semi-regular hitter that they like better than Smith. With a variety of big bats still floating around in free agency, there are any number of interesting possibilities.
Mark Trumbo is the top-rated free agent still left unsigned, but the former Mariner has already been traded away twice by GM Jerry Dipoto (once when the two were with the Angels). Jose Bautista would certainly represent an intriguing target to put into the middle of the lineup along with fellow Dominican stars Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz, though adding him (as with Trumbo) would mean sacrificing a first-round pick (currently, the 17th selection). Neither is a likely addition for Seattle, though, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter).
Other open-market outfield bats include another former Mariner, Michael Saunders, and big lefty slugger Brandon Moss. It’s imaginable, too, that Seattle would prefer to pick up a player capable of spending some time in center. While Leonys Martin was strong there in 2016, he’d look even better with a solid platoon option available as needed. Right-handed, center-field capable hitters still on the market include Austin Jackson and Desmond Jennings.
Of course, that’s just scratching the surface of the options. The M’s have already struck one significant trade this offseason and could pursue another with heavy hitters such as Ryan Braun, J.D. Martinez, and Andrew McCutchen all potentially available. Or, they might find value on a part-time player through a swap. Regardless, it seems that the Smith trade will set up more moves, rather than representing a capstone to the heavy winter lifting for Dipoto and his team.