While Mariners right fielder Mitch Haniger was deemed close to untouchable in trade talks last offseason, some around the game expect him to be available in the coming offseason, tweets MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. That’s hardly a firm indication that Seattle will push to move Haniger when his value has diminished, but the 28-year-old (29 in December) would make an interesting addition to the winter trade market should the Mariners entertain offers on him. Haniger has been out for more than two months due a to a ruptured testicle that required surgical repair, and he wasn’t anywhere near his best when healthy, hitting .220/.314/.463 with 15 home runs in 283 trips to the plate. But he logged a combined .284/.361/.492 batting line (134 OPS+) in 2016-17 with the Mariners and can still be controlled through the 2022 season. Add in quality defensive marks in right field plus the ability to man center field when needed, and it’s easy to see why Haniger would hold appeal throughout the league even on the heels of a down campaign. Broadly speaking, Seattle GM Jerry Dipoto is as open-minded about trades as any baseball ops leader in the game, so it stands to reason that Haniger and others will be oft-cited trade candidates this winter, whether a deal comes to fruition or not.
More from the AL West…
- Astros top prospect Kyle Tucker’s wait to return to the big leagues will be over in the near future, writes Jake Kaplan of The Athletic (subscription required). At the very least, the 22-year-old will be in line for a September call-up (perhaps after the Triple-A season ends), and he could factor into Houston’s postseason plans as well, depending on how many pitchers the club plans to carry. Tucker took a professional tone when discussing the fact that he understands why he’s still in Triple-A, given then outfield depth the Astros have on the big league roster, adding: “…obviously, I wish I’d be up there helping out, too.” Tucker’s recent exposure to playing first base came at his own request in an effort to enhance his versatility, Kaplan notes, and that added position could be a ticket to carving out more regular at-bats in the Majors next season. Houston has Josh Reddick, George Springer, Michael Brantley and Jake Marisnick all under control for next season and has Yordan Alvarez, Yuli Gurriel and Aledmys Diaz in the mix as first base/DH options. Despite that wealth of options, though, president of baseball operations Jeff Luhnow has effectively made Tucker off limits when other teams have inquired about his availability, signaling that he’ll eventually be leaned upon as a key contributor in the Astros’ lineup.
- Left-hander Sean Manaea threw 91 pitches and picked up a win in his latest start for the Athletics’ Triple-A club in Las Vegas. Manaea, on the mend from shoulder surgery, had his rehab assignment halted briefly this month due to some discomfort in his side but has now made a pair of outings since returning and looks to be largely stretched out. In his past three rehab appearances with the Aviators, Manaea has a 2.70 ERA and a 24-to-4 K/BB ratio in 16 2/3 innings of work. When and how he’ll be worked back into the rotation remains unclear, but the A’s will have to make a decision on that front relatively soon. The most logical candidate to lose a rotation spot would be veteran righty Homer Bailey, who is slated to take the mound tomorrow night when the Yankees visit the A’s. Each of Mike Fiers, Brett Anderson and Chris Bassitt have pitched well in 2019, and recently acquired righty Tanner Roark has a better track record than Bailey in recent years as well. Rosters are set to expand in September, which will give the A’s more flexibility with how they structure their pitching staff.