In return for the slugger, Seattle sent reliever Erik Swanson and left-handed pitching prospect Adam Macko to the Jays.
This deal had been in the works for some time now. Though, current Mariners starter Chris Flexen was involved in previous iterations before this blockbuster was made official without him. For Seattle, this deal provides them with a much-needed middle-of-the-order bat.
“We began our off-season with the intent to add impact and length to our lineup,” Mariners president Jerry Dipoto on trade for Teoscar Hernandez. “In adding Teoscar to an already solid foundation, we feel we’ve become a far more dangerous offensive club.”
Toronto acquires needed pitching help at the cost of one of its best hitters. It’s a swap the team obviously was willing to make. Below, we look at three takeaways from the Hernandez blockbuster.
Related: Sportsnaut’s MLB free agency tracker
Julio Rodriguez gets protection for the Seattle Mariners
Fresh off winning the American League Rookie of the Year award, Rodriguez now has more help in the middle of the lineup. It’s something he was missing as Seattle was swept by the eventual World Series champion Houston Astros in the American League Divisional Playoffs.
- Teoscar Hernandez stats (2022): .267 average, 25 HR, 77 RBI, .807 OPS
Back in 2021, Hernandesz hit .296 with 32 homers and 116 RBI en route to earning his first All-Star appearance. The previous season saw him finish 11th in the American League MVP voting. Talk about giving Rodriguez the necessary help.
Teoscar Hernandez will now likely get paid
Set to hit free agency following the 2023 season, there’s now a good chance that the 30-year-old Hernandez will be offered an extension at some point this winter. Seattle didn’t give up a top-10 prospect and a dominant reliever in Erick Swanson for a mere rental. That’s not how this team is built.
- Teoscar Hernandez contract: Arbitration eligible with estimated $14.46 million salary; free agent in 2023
Based on his track record, it seems that Hernandez is in line for a huge pay increase. Something to the tune of four years at $100 million is likely in the cards. Given Toronto’s penny-pinching ways, it’s unlikely he would’ve earned that in Canada. Thi smakes him a winner of this blockbuster.
Erik Swanson and Adam Macko give Toronto Blue Jays pitching, frees up cash
Despite posting a 92-70 record last season, Toronto finished in the middle of the pack in ERA, strikeouts and WHIP. It was a downfall for this team, especially the starting rotation. Whether Macko lives up his billing as a top prospect remains to be seen. But he does have dominant stuff.
- Adam Macko stats (2022): 3.99 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 60 strikesout in 38.1 innings
Macko, 21, saw action in high Single-A ball a season ago. He’s ways away from the Majors. This is about future depth in the rotation.
The same thing can’t be said about Swanson. The 29-year-old righty was among the most-dominant relievers in the game last season. He pitched to a 1.68 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP while striking out an astounding 70 batters in 53.1 innings.
Swanson will end up being a late-inning guy for a Jays squad that lacked that at times a season ago. Sure this return seems light, but it frees up roughly $15 million for Toronto as the team makes a play for star outfielder Brandon Nimmo in free agency.