3 Things to Know: Mariners’ trade of Kyle Lewis for Cooper Hummel

The Mariners made a trade Thursday that Mike Salk of Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk referred to as “the mortal lock of this offseason,” transport away Kyle Lewis, the 2020 American League Rookie of the Year.

Mariners trade Kyle Lewis to D-Backs for C/OF Cooper Hummel

Despite Lewis’ clear upside and flashes of brilliance for Seattle within the huge leagues, accidents – mainly a number of ones to the identical proper knee – have sadly performed an enormous half in his profession. As a outcome, Seattle’s 2016 first-round MLB Draft choose appeared in simply 18 video games for the Mariners in 2022, spending the bulk of his time when wholesome sufficient to play with Triple-A Tacoma, and in accordance to Salk the connection between the 2 sides had soured

That relationship ended with Thursday’s deal that sends Lewis to Arizona and brings catcher/outfielder Cooper Hummel to Seattle. Salk mentioned the swap Friday morning, which you’ll pay attention to in the beginning of the podcast at this hyperlink or within the participant under. After that, we’ll have a look at three issues he stated you want to know concerning the trade.

1. What the trade of Lewis says

According to Salk, the Mariners couldn’t afford to transfer ahead with Lewis on their roster, which is definitely a superb sign up phrases of the place they presently stand.

“While it was painful, onerous to swallow, (the trade) may really present how a lot better this group has gotten,” he stated. “… I do assume that what the Mariners did yesterday exhibits sort of how far they’ve come.”

Lewis was noticeably hindered by his knee all through the 2022 season, which restricted him to simply 12 appearances within the outfield between the M’s and Rainiers in contrast to 45 mixed video games as designated hitter. While Lewis’ bat has rather a lot of potential, Salk stated the Mariners’ roster is not constructed to carry a participant who cannot play the sector – or at the least not one with a extra confirmed observe report in opposition to MLB pitching.

“This 12 months was an entire waste sadly for him between the knee harm and the top harm (a concussion suffered on May 28), and actually the truth that he simply could not play the sector. And that to me is finally what saves this relationship,” Salk stated. “Because in the event you’re the Mariners, you possibly can’t have a man that may’t play the sector proper now who does not have a extra constant observe report for success than Kyle Lewis does. He might very properly find yourself as a DH who has rather a lot of success within the National League with the Diamondbacks, however you possibly can’t take that probability proper now.

“The Diamondbacks are in, like, everlasting rebuilt mode. You’re not. You’re going for it. You’re proper within the center of issues, proper? You have one of the very best rosters within the American League, you performed the Astros as robust as anyone, and also you’re attempting to go from good to nice this 12 months. You can not afford to wager on a man who does not play a defensive place proper now and had an OPS of .529 final 12 months with three residence runs.”

Not that it makes it any simpler to see Lewis, who seemed like a celebrity within the making in 2019 and 2020, transfer on to one other group.

“By the way in which, this complete dialog about the place he is at is in-built actuality, however the different half of it’s sort of ‘what a disgrace.’ Good child, vivid smile, everyone likes him, ‘face of the franchise’ sort of potential,” Salk stated. “… I suppose the final piece of dangerous information is you had a man who was the Rookie of the Year only a couple of years in the past who you simply gave away for not rather a lot, and that stinks. It’s a bummer. And at 26 years outdated – he’ll play subsequent 12 months at 27 – he might get it in Arizona. And you may simply have to shrug your shoulders as a result of guess what? You do not have room.”

2. What the Mariners are hoping for out of Hummel

While the Mariners’ return for Lewis was, as Salk stated, “not rather a lot,” that does not imply it’s best to rule out Cooper Hummel having some sort of affect for the group. As a participant who was an older rookie this 12 months (Hummel made his MLB debut in April and can flip 28 later this month), can play a number of positions together with catcher, and posted robust on-base numbers all through the minors, Hummel has rather a lot in frequent with a diamond within the rough-type participant the Mariners had a couple of seasons in the past.

“I believe the hope is that he is sort of one other Austin Nola,” Salk famous. “The actuality is he is probably not confirmed that but and so it is sort of a flyer, virtually a lottery ticket that they get again from Arizona.”

The switch-hitting Hummel slashed simply .176/.274/.307 for a .580 OPS in 66 video games with the Diamondbacks final season, however the Portland native and University of Portland product has a profession .397 on-base proportion and .842 OPS over six seasons within the minors.


Salk talked about that he “did some digging” about Hummel by speaking to some mates in Arizona and shared a bit of what he came upon.

“He is the sort of participant I used to be instructed that analysts like and scouts do not. Great swing selections, management the zone, all that sort of stuff, however scouts do not like his swing. So when he comes up to the massive leagues after crushing the minors and falters, scouts are like, ‘See? Told you. Bad swing.’ But scouts do not like something so don’t fret about it. Scouts are tremendous unfavourable.”

It feels like Hummel’s skill to get on base is the primary draw.

“Not an important defender, though he does play a number of positions and that will have damage his (total) protection,” Salk stated. “Look, he is not an enormous time prospect and he is not a dream return for a man who has as a lot upside as Kyle Lewis nonetheless does, however Lewis’ inventory has fallen. This is sadly what the worth is, and if issues work out, you’ve got bought your self one other Austin Nola. I believe that is the purpose. Similar (in that he would have) sort of figured it out late, catcher who might additionally play different positions, athletic, and many others., will get on base. “

For what it is value, Salk additionally pointed to a fairly glowing tackle Hummel by sports activities reporter Jessica Kleinschmidt, who has coated the Oakland Athletics.

3. How this impacts the Mariners’ backup catcher function

Update 5:16 pm: Catcher Luis Torrens was one of three gamers the Mariners didn’t tender Friday.

The final level Salk made has to do with Hummel’s skill to catch, as a result of the M’s have already got two veteran choices behind starter Cal Raleigh, who had a breakout 12 months in 2022. Luis Torrens and Tom Murphy each have query marks and are arbitration-eligible this offseason, so the M’s might non-tender both of them to get monetary savings.

Salk talked about that regardless of Raleigh’s emergence in 2022, significantly within the second half of the season, the backup catcher spot is one the Mariners want to put some thought into.

“What does this imply now for the backup catcher spot in the event you’re the Mariners? Because as a lot as I really like what Cal Raleigh did final 12 months – as did you, as did everyone, it was superior – I’ll admit, I’m just a little involved a few backslide there, that the league adjusts (to him) in Year 2,” he stated. “Saw what he did properly, noticed what he did not do properly, and appears for methods to attempt to assault him in another way in Year 2, and it will be up to him to modify. I’ll fear just a little bit about that. I’m additionally going to fear that he performed rather a lot… and that wears you down. Physically huge catcher, kneeling behind the plate all these video games takes rather a lot out of you… so that you’d actually like to get him out of the lineup just a little bit extra.”

As for Torrens and Murphy?

“Torrens has some of the identical abilities as Hummel however he is at the least confirmed it just a little bit extra within the huge leagues, (and) I do know they like Tom Murphy’s management and his toughness however he is been injured now two of the final three years. … So possibly there’s some important worth right here in bringing in one other participant at that place who’s cheaper, cost-controllable, youthful, and you’ll exit and simply play him just a little bit extra typically and see what you bought.”

The excellent news with Hummel, although, is as a result of of his positional flexibility (he has performed every of the nook outfield and nook infield positions as a professional), the Mariners might afford to carry a 3rd catcher on their 26-man roster whereas nonetheless having different positions coated.

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