The Mariners and Brewers both agreed to a deal that would send a second baseman Colton Wong From Milwaukee to Seattle for an outfielder Jesse Winker and player Abraham ToroAnd the reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. ESPN’s Jeff Bassin Add That the Brewers are sending about $1.75 million in cash to the Mariners makes this a neutral cash trade. John Heyman of the New York Post reported a short while ago that M’s and Brewers were discussing both Wong and Winker in business talks (Twitter links).
The 32-year-old Wong deserves a $10 million salary after the Brewers exercised a club option on him after the season. He will be a free agent next winter. Winker, meanwhile, owes $8.25 million in 2023 after striking a two-year deal covering last year’s final arbitration seasons. Like Wong, he was awarded a free agency ticket the next winter. Toro, on the other hand, is not yet arbitration-eligible and could be controlled for four more seasons.
Wong was a natural target for the Mariners, given their lack of a clear starter at second base and their desire to add some balance to a lineup that skews slightly right-handed. M will give M a steady presence, perhaps at the helm of the lineup, in the wake of the two best offensive seasons of his career. During his two years at Brewer, Wong snapped a total of .262/.337/.439 with 29 home runs, 56 doubles, six triples and 29 steals.
With the Brewers, Wong apparently made a concerted effort to start lifting the ball with more hesitation. His ground ball average, which had been around 47% in St. Louis, has fallen to a low of 41.8% over the past season, and Wong has made notable gains in both his line drive rate and especially his fly ball rate as a catcher. Brewers member. As one would expect, the number of balls in the air also increased Wong’s energy output. His 177 ISO (sluggling percentage minus batting average) in two years with the Brewers was well above the . 123 mark he held in parts of eight seasons with the Cardinals.
On the defensive side of the game, the 2022 season has been strange and scary for Wong. Usually one of the best defenders in the game at his position, Wong committed an astounding 17 errors – more than he had in the previous three seasons combined. When his option was selected, Wong told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Todd Roziak that his legs weren’t healthy in 2022, which he felt contributed to his surprising defensive shortcomings (Twitter links). Wong missed time in June with a calf strain that sent him to the injured list, and it’s certainly plausible that his legs cost him some of his typical defensive edge.
It was a similar tale for Winker in 2022, as injuries affected his production in what will now turn out to be his only season as a starter. obtained side by side Eugenio Suarez In the trade you sent a promotion opportunity Brandon Williamsona defensive player Jake Fraley And right Justin Dunn For Cincinnati, Winker had (perhaps literally) the weakest offensive season of his career before he had left knee surgery and a second procedure to address a bulging disc in his neck in October.
The extent of Winker’s injuries can’t be said for certain, but the speedy former Reds outfielder went from one of the best hitters in the game against right-handed pitching to a lackluster .219/.344/.344 hitting streak with the Mariners in 2022.
Winker’s defense also suffered; He was never considered an overprotective cornerback, but posted career-worst scores in defensive saves (-16), end zone rating (-7.2), and above-average (-10) at Emerald City. Beyond Winker’s declining performance on the field, Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times mentioned In October the way Wenker fell for the Seattle club.
The retreat was rather rapid and startling. In the two seasons prior to his acquisition by the Mariners, Winker was one of the three best hitters in the game against right-handed pitching, trailing only Juan Soto And the Bryce Harper In terms of WRC +. He posted a video-game-esque .321/.417/.619 hitting streak in 509 plate appearances against right-handers in that span, and while his production against fellow left-handers wasn’t anywhere near that high, he still walked in a 12% clip against them, putting It resulted in a .314 OBP. 199 average and .338 batting left handed were dismal, but at least Winker could get on base with a near-medium clip even in unfavorable faction competition.
The Brewers are hoping to get Winker back to the form he showed when he was a thorn in their side as a member of the division-rival Reds, from surgeries, rest and rehab. However, only time will tell if Winker is actually able to recover.
If Winker can’t get back into form, the Brewers can still pin some hopes on Toro – another rebound candidate looking to take advantage of a change of scenery. The 25-year-old (26 later this month) was one of the top prospects in the Astros system for several years but never had the chance to establish himself for the Houston club that had Alex Bergman In the third base and Jose Altuve At second base – primary toro sites. The Astros were trading Toro and the veteran reliever Joe Smith to the Mariners in a controversial deadline-date exchange that saw Seattle next send closer Kendall Grafman And right Rafael Montero to Houston in return.
There were a lot of similarities between the Toro trade and the 2022 trade that saw the Brewers fielded Josh Hader to San Diego. As was the case with Brewers fans this year, Mariners fans — and the club — were outraged to see the closest rival club being traded to another contender for the postseason, even though both the Mariners (Smith, Toro) and Brewers (Taylor RogersAnd the Esteore RuizAnd the Robert Jasser) had some immediate MLB assists and a long-term prospect value at running back.
Unfortunately for the Mariners, Toro was never able to fully establish himself as a regular player in the lineup. He caught fire with the Mariners right after the trade, and even reached out to Grafman himself just a month after the trade. However, the 2022 season saw Toro gain infrequent playing time and bat to a . 185/. 239/. 324 slash in 352 plate appearances. However, he’s not far from being a respected prospect, still in his mid-twenties, and carries a career-high .343/.451/.545 on the Triple-A hitting streak, so there’s reason to hope he can yet break through. .
Toro still has a minor league option, so it’s not a lock that he’ll open a 23 season at the Brewers roster, but he’ll head to Spring Training competing for time at second base or third base. Both he and Luis Urreas They have plenty of experience at both positions, but the ideal defensive alignment would be Toro at third base and Uriahs at second. Of course, it’s possible for brewers to deepen their blends with more off-season moves, and potentially higher Brice Turang She could influence the mix at second base early in the season, too, after hitting .286/.360/.412 at Triple-A last season.
In all likelihood, the trade is just one in the middle of a series of moves for both clubs involved. The Mariners had been open to adding another outfield bat even before Winker was traded, and now more clearly can accommodate a standout bat in left field or designated hitter. The Brewers, meanwhile, have so far focused on trimming salary margins and extracting some modest value from players they feel they can replace within the company (eg Wong, Renfrew hunter).
No doubt it was a frustrating start to the winter for many Milwaukee fans, but so far the Brewers have only moved on from manageable players until 2023. They’ve trimmed payroll somewhat while doing so, and the question now will be how — or if — they reallocate those dollars. It’s possible they’ll turn Winker Winker around to another club, but they’ve yet to show any sign of a complete rebuild, so at some point it seems likely that the brewers will make at least some modest upgrades to their roster.
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