While Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has effectively shown that nothing can be ruled out this winter, newly acquired Jay Bruce told reporters on a conference call following this week’s Robinson Cano/Edwin Diaz blockbuster that he’s been told he’ll be a Mariner in 2019 (Twitter link via Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times). Certainly, Dipoto could find an unexpected trade partner, but it seems that Bruce, 32 in April, will line up in the outfield alongside center fielder Mallex Smith and right fielder Mitch Haniger (assuming neither of them are traded themselves). For all of Seattle’s “re-imagining,” that trio could very well represent a fairly strong outfield mix if Bruce’s bat can return to its 2017 levels, when he hit .254/.324/.508 with 36 home runs.
Here’s more out of Seattle…
- Carlos Santana’s future with the Mariners is not as set in stone, it seems. Jayson Stark of The Athletic reports (via Twitter) that the Mariners have given off the sense that they’re “fine with holding onto Santana,” but they’ve also chatted with multiple other teams about the first baseman since his acquisition. Stark notes that the Phillies had a few teams interested before sending Santana to Seattle, so the Mariners should find interest as well, though they’ll surely need to absorb some of the $35MM he’s still owed on the final two years of his three-year, $60MM contract. Santana was loosely connected to the Twins before being traded to Seattle, and MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes ran through a number of plausible landing spots for the veteran first baseman last month.
- In a full column, Divish takes an exhaustive look at what could be next for the Mariners in their rebuild. Haniger’s name figures to be featured prominently on the rumor mill for the remainder of the offseason, particularly because he’s close to the same age as Segura — whom Dipoto suggested would be exiting his prime when the Mariners are fully hitting their stride again (thus the trade). However, Divish explains that the organization feels Haniger will age better “due to his dedicated, almost obsessive, commitment to preparation in the offseason and during the season.” He also examines the case for moving Dee Gordon, reporting that many scouts feel Gordon’s poor 2018 campaign was tied to a broken toe he suffered in May and spent much of the season playing through. The column provides an excellent look at the cases for and against trades of a number of other Mariners players and quite nicely depicts the myriad different avenues Dipoto and his staff could explore before the 2019 season begins.