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Seattle Mariners trade Jesse Winker to Milwaukee Brewers for Kolten Wong

Seattle Mariners, Kolten Wong

The Seattle Mariners have made their second big splash of the MLB offseason, acquiring second baseman Kolten Wong from the Milwaukee Brewers.

Seattle went into the offseason looking to add the necessary talent to become a World Series contender in 2023. After snapping the longest postseason drought in MLB, reaching the playoffs for the first time in over 20 years, president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto is getting more aggressive this winter.

As first reported by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Mariners are trading outfielder Jesse Winker and infielder Abraham Toro to the Brewers for Wong.

Milwaukee wanted to shed payroll this offseason and already dealt Hunter Renfroe to the Los Angeles Angels. In exchange for Winker and Toro, Seattle lands an everyday second baseman who should provide a solid upgrade at the position. Wong is owed a $10 million salary in 2023, the last year of his contract.

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A Gold Glove Award winner in 2019 and 2020 along with a three-time Fielding Bible Award recipient (2018-’20), the 32-year-old’s defense has dipped in recent seasons. In 2022, Baseball Savant recorded Wong in the 3rd percentile for Outs Above Average and he also finished in the 3rd percentile for arm strength.

Winker lands in Milwaukee less than a year after Seattle traded top prospects Justin Dunn and Brandon Williamson to the Cincinnati Reds for Winker and Eugenio Suarez. After slashing .219/.344/.344 with a .688 OPS, Winker became expendable with Seattle acquiring All-Star outfielder Teoscar Hernandez.

Related: Seattle Mariners eyeing two sluggers in free agency

By all reports, the Mariners aren’t finished making moves. Dipoto is looking into the top MLB free agents, with a focus on outfielders. Seattle’s priority is an outfielder with a high on-base rate and a player who can field his position well.

While Wong is no longer one of the best second basemen in MLB defensively, he addresses a weakness on the Mariners’ roster. Seattle ranked 28th in FanGraphs’ WAR (0.4) last season, with its second basemen posting the third-lowest OBP (.278) and the third-lowest OPS (.594).

Wong represents a significant upgrade at the position to boost the Mariners’ lineup. If he can return to the player we saw defensively in 2021 – 0.8 Def and 62nd percentile Outs Above Average – Seattle will come away from this trade feeling even better.

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