The Mariners have acquired first baseman Yonder Alonso from the Athletics in exchange for minor league outfielder Boog Powell, per an announcement from Seattle. The M’s claimed Alonso off waivers prior to working out a deal with the American League West rival A’s, reports Ken Rosenthal of MLB Network (on Twitter).
The 30-year-old Alonso has enjoyed a breakout season, but as an impending free agent on a rebuilding team, the expectation was that Oakland would move the $4MM slugger this summer. The A’s were unable to find a trade to their liking for Alonso before this past Monday’s non-waiver deadline, however, thanks in part to a lack of leaguewide demand at first base.
The playoff-contending Mariners have gotten little production from the position this year, though, with their first base options having combined for a woeful batting line (.246/.305/.385) and the majors’ third-worst fWAR (minus-0.8). Despite that shoddy production, Seattle holds a 56-55 record and sits just 1.5 games out of a wild-card position.
Seattle’s primary first baseman has been Danny Valencia, whose overall output hasn’t been great. However, the right-handed hitter has feasted on southpaw pitchers (.297/.368/.505), which could set up a formidable platoon consisting of him and the lefty-swinging Alonso. Buoyed by a newly adopted fly ball-first approach, Alonso has slashed an excellent .266/.369/.527 with 22 home runs in 371 plate appearances this year. Almost all of that damage has come off righties, against whom Alonso has batted .287/.393/.559 in 254 trips to the plate.
To land Alonso, the Mariners gave up the 24-year-old Powell, who got his first taste of big league action earlier this season and hit .194/.310/.194 over nine games and 43 PAs. He owns a far better .340/.416/.490 line in 239 Triple-A PAs this year, and has slashed a lifetime .288/.365/.402 at that level. Powell actually entered the professional ranks as the Athletics’ 20th-round pick back in 2012. They ended up sending him, John Jaso and Daniel Robertson to the Rays in a 2015 deal that netted the A’s Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar.
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