Mariners trade 2 pitchers for Teoscar Hernandez to Blue Jays

seattle mariners acquired slugger teoscar hernandez in business with toronto blue jays on Wednesday, bolstering a lineup in need of another big bat as they Houston Astrostheir division rival and World Series champion.

right handed reliever Eric Swanson And left-handed pitching prospect Adam McCo went to the Blue Jays, whose bullpen issues were most evident in a 10–9 wild-card series loss to the Mariners last season that ended their season.

Hernandez, 30, hit a pair of home runs in that game and is a two-time Silver Slugger winner whose power in right field is unmistakable. He hit .267/.316/.491 last season with 25 home runs and 77 RBI in 131 games and should work in right field with the American League Rookie of the Year, center fielder Julio Rodriguez,

“We began our offseason with the intention of adding impact and length to our lineup,” said Jerry Dipoto, the Mariners’ president of baseball operations. Dangerously aggressive club.

Toronto’s willingness to deal Hernandez has more to do with the status of his contract than the quality of his play. He is due free agency after the 2023 season and is expected to make around $14 million in arbitration. The sources said the Blue Jays plan to acquire another outfielder this season.

In Swanson and Maco, they added a helping hand to their bullpen this year and another with high-end-starter potential.

The 29-year-old Swanson had a breakout 2022 season, pitching to a 1.68 ERA with 70 strikeouts over 53⅔ innings. With a four-seam fastball that featured near-backspin and a split-finger fastball that evolved into a strikeout weapon this year, Swanson was a key part of the Mariners’ bullpen — and will be joined by closer Jordan Romano, Anthony Bass, Adam Cimber, yimi garcia, zach pop And Tim Maiza In a bullpen that could be a strength for Toronto.

Toronto general manager Ross Atkins said, “We got to the point where we felt that an acquisition on the run-prevention side would help us.” “It also creates some flexibility for us in terms of resources.”

Atkins said the groundwork for the trade began during general manager meetings last week in Las Vegas and that there were “three or four teams” with significant interest in Hernandez.

Atkins said, “This market for right-handed batters like Teo, he was one of the better hitters in it. We’re fortunate to have some depth in that area.”

Maco, who turns 22 in December, pitched 60 over 38⅓ innings in High-A this year and has a fastball in the mid-90s and a pair of breaking balls that give him significant upside. Born in Slovakia, he graduated from high school in 2019 in Vauxhall, a small town in the Canadian province of Alberta. The Mariners selected him in the seventh round of the 2019 draft.

“If we can put him in a position where he can keep up a full season of innings, he could easily become one of the better prospects in baseball. He’s got the arsenal to do that,” Atkins said. he said.

The Mariners could gain an additional advantage provided Hernandez has a stellar season: if they make him a qualifying offer after 2023 and he signs elsewhere, Seattle would receive a draft option around the 75th pick, Which would have a slot price of around $850,000.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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