The Seattle Mariners blew up their roster — which won 89 games in 2018 — in the offseason, trading away Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz, James Paxton, Jean Segura, and Mike Zunino while losing designated hitter Nelson Cruz to free agency; it appears they intend to continue the purge. According to MLB Network‘s Jon Heyman, the Mariners are open to moving several players, including Edwin Encarnacion, Ryon Healy, Dee Gordon, Tim Beckham, and Mike Leake. They already dealt outfielder Jay Bruce to the Philadelphia Phillies.
Here are landing spots for the veterans they’re looking to move.
Edwin Encarnacion: Houston Astros
Encarnacion is, for the most part, a designated hitter at this point of his career, and his $20 million salary likely won’t attract many teams to make a move for him. With that said, there’s a team option on the fourth year of his contract (2020), so whoever acquires Encarnacion doesn’t have to keep him past this season. And the heavy hitter would give the Astros another big-impact bat.
Encarnacion is still one of the best power hitters in the sport. Heck, he has totaled 32-plus home runs a season since 2012, as well as 104-plus RBIs in six of the last seven seasons. He currently has 17 home runs and 42 RBIs to his name. Encarnacion also lays off pitches, leading to walks — which is surprising for a hitter of his echelon.
Carlos Correa continues to be plagued by injuries; Jose Altuve has encountered injuries since the second half of 2018; Yuli Gurriel is hitting .255; Tyler White is hitting .222; Encarnacion would give the Astros a high-octane bat to insert into an already deep depth chart, and it’s likely that Seattle would be willing to eat some of the hefty price tag to move the contract, as indicated by the Bruce trade.
Ryon Healy: Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays are an organization that relies on its depth. Why wouldn’t they look to add to it in the midst of a season that may feature their first playoff appearance since 2013?
Healy is a versatile infielder. While primarily a first baseman, he can also lockdown the hot corner. While Yandy Diaz and Ji-Man Choi are having plausible seasons, neither is stellar at their respective position, and the Rays, in general, don’t have a great deal of infield depth at the major-league level. Christian Arroyo certainly has talent, but 2019 likely isn’t the year he takes on a full-time role with the Rays.
Healy is a power hitter. While his bat has been quiet in 2019, he has shown an ability to be a productive force at the plate in years past. Totaling 49 home runs and 151 RBIs from 2017-18, Healy has been a vital and underrated source of power. Healy is also under team control through 2022.
Dee Gordon: Cincinnati Reds
Gordon has been written off and is really only discussed on a national platform when he has been the center of an offseason trade — which is unfortunate. For a rising Reds team, he’s everything they need.
While their youth is developing an identity and has the Reds playing competitive baseball for the first time in a while, they still need more bats. Gordon is one of the best all-around second basemen in the sport. He has a slick glove, is superb at turning double plays, and a steady contact hitter who is a career .289 hitter.
Jose Peraza and Jose Iglesias have been reliable middle infielders, but with Scooter Gennett — who hasn’t played this season due to a groin injury — hitting the open market after 2019, the Reds would be wise to ensure that they have a capable and proven second baseman in place past 2019. Gordon, who’s due $27.5 million through 2021 after this season, fits the bill.
Tim Beckham: Boston Red Sox
The defending World Series-champion Red Sox are 33-30. While few are innocent in Boston’s slow start, a recurring issue has been offensive consistency; Beckham would assist them, in that regard.
Beckham’s brightest moment in the big leagues came in the 50 games he played with the Baltimore Orioles in 2017. After coming over in a trade from the Rays, he hit .306 while totaling 10 home runs and 26 RBIs. He’s a contact hitter who can get on base at a reliable rate, and while he hasn’t replicated that success over the last year and a half, Beckham’s defensive versatility makes up for his current .241 batting average.
Over the last two years Beckham has played shortstop, as well as second and third base. For a Red Sox team that has seen Brock Holt miss time due to injury, Dustin Pedroia be unable to get on the field, and Eduardo Nunez struggle, adding another middle infielder should be a priority. Beckham would give them depth and perhaps a spark, but if it doesn’t go well, they can let him walk in free agency.
Mike Leake: Texas Rangers
The Rangers have been a pleasant surprise this season, as they’re 32-29 and tied with the Red Sox for the second American League Wild Card seeding. However, it has been speculated that they will deal left-hander Mike Minor, who has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season, before the trade deadline. Instead, why not keep Minor and make moves to reach the playoffs?
The Rangers have a deep lineup of power and contact hitters; what they need is more pitching. Lance Lynn, Drew Smyly, and Shelby Miller, among others, have been inconsistent. The Rangers can’t make the playoffs with one starter (Minor) pitching at a high level. Leake has been respectable in his year and a half with the Mariners, but maybe turned a corner in his Wednesday night start against the Astros. Pitching a complete game and surrendering just one run, he dominated one of the best lineups in the game in convincing fashion.
Leake relies on soft contact, but is pitching deep into games this season. If he keeps pitching and performing to his capabilities, he could be a contributor in a team’s desire to make the postseason. Plus, he’s under contract through 2021, so the Rangers wouldn’t have to worry about securing his services in the scenario that Leake thrives with them.