Mariners and Brewers Swap Bench Depth, Finalize 40-Man
Three posts in a row by me? Madness. So, the Mariners have announced a trade of OF Ramon Flores to the Brewers in exchange for IF Luis Sardinas, thus exchanging two players that you have likely never heard of.
Flores is a guy whom you probably wouldn’t be as aware of had you tuned out mid-season. For those of you just joining us, welcome! We have a new GM who does not espouse a depressing baseball philosophy! Flores was acquired with right-hander Jose Ramirez as part of the Dustin Ackley trade that sent the former first-rounder to the Yankees. Also, Dustin Ackley is gone. Ramon Flores has a similar offensive profile to that of recently-added outfielder Boog Powell with some added power, except that Flores has the unflattering profile of being a tweener, neither providing enough offense for the corner nor possessing good enough wheels to justify playing him in center on a routine basis. Being that he was out of options, I had tentatively penciled him in to be the team’s back-up outfielder, but given that he broke his ankle at the end of the season, he was neither expected to be ready in time for spring training nor capable of playing to the best of his abilities once he got there. It’s not a ligament injury, obviously, but ankle is still part of the larger leg thing and for a guy who had range questions in the first place, well…
Sardinas is formerly of the Rangers system, where you can make further connections to our existing staff, Bogar, etc. He was signed in 2009 for seven figures and was regarded as one of the top defensive shortstops on the market at the time, which has held and made him a component in the Gallardo trade. His promotion scheme over the years has been Zduriencik-like insofar as he’s been at least two years younger than league-average everywhere he’s played so far and reached triple-A around the time he reached legal drinking age. He’s proven himself over the years to be a guy with a choppy swing who doesn’t tend to hit for more than doubles power. More positively, he’s also a switch-hitter and plays a plus defensive shortstop with good wheels to boot.
This will likely read as a move for bench depth, but we ought to bear in mind that Sardinas is still just 22, turning 23 in late April. To consider his offensive development as fully realized under the circumstances would be presumptuous. Hence, I look at him as a guy who could, if it comes to it, push for competition with Marte as to who starts at the major league level. Sardinas has an option year left and Marte has a few, so it certainly seems possible that he could be an okay piece to have around. Those of us who came of baseball-watching age in the late-90s/early-00s offensive boom among shortstops may be a little more lukewarm on the whole thing, but offense is down league-wide and so the projected production out of Sardinas isn’t terrible, as such.
While I was typing this up, the Mariners also finalized their 40-man roster, and I’m not so ambitious as to make two posts out of it considering the news is somewhat minor. OF Boog Powell and IF/OF Patrick Kivlehan, the two “locks” I identified earlier, were the two players that were added to the 40-man. To clear an additional roster spot, the Mariners designated former first-round pick LHP Danny Hultzen for assignment. Hultzen was a fairly obvious target for designation because he’s out of option years despite having pitched all of eight innings in the last two years of regular season, affiliated ball. The shoulder has proven to be a continuing issue for him, preventing him from having made his major league debut despite being drafted in 2011 and being thought of as near-major league ready then. Let us now fondly remember the meltdown that ensued after I drafted several possible write-ups on who the #2 pick would be, none of which were Hultzen. As major league baseball still had the ability to sign drafted players to major league contracts then, he thus burns through all his options without debuting. The good news is that that’s over with. The other maybe good news is that he could be safely outrighted provide nobody wants an almost-26 left-hander with a balky shoulder. Pause for laughter.