The Seattle Mariners made one of the first big moves of the offseason by acquiring outfielder Teoscar Hernández from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for two pitchers on Wednesday.
Fresh off the team’s first playoff appearance in more than two decades, the Mariners added a slugging righthanded bat to their lineup with the acquisition of Hernández and addressed one of their offseason needs by finding a corner outfielder.
Hernández hit .267 with 25 home runs and 77 RBIs in 131 games last season for the Blue Jays and joined Mookie Betts as the only outfielders in baseball with at least 35 doubles and 25 homers. Hernández was an All-Star starter in 2021 and finished that season hitting .296 with 32 homers and 116 RBIs for Toronto.
He immediately will slot into the middle of Seattle’s batting order and could end up being a replacement in right field for Mitch Haniger, who is a free agent.
“We began our offseason with the intent to add impact and length to our lineup,” said Jerry Dipoto, Seattle’s president of baseball operations. “In adding Teoscar to an already solid foundation, we feel we’ve become a far more dangerous offensive club.”
Righthanded reliever Erik Swanson and Single A lefty Adam Macko are going back to Toronto. The Blue Jays were looking to clear salary for 2023 and also needed bullpen help with swing-and-miss stuff, which Swanson is expected to provide.
Swanson was 3-2 with a 1.68 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 53 2/3 innings last season.
“We got to the point where we felt like the acquisitions on the run-prevention side would help us,” Toronto general manager Ross Atkins said. “It does create some flexibility for us as well, in terms of resources.”
Atkins said the groundwork for the trade started during the general manager meetings last week in Las Vegas and there were “three or four teams” with a significant interest in Hernández.
“This market for righthanded bats like Teo, he was one of the better hitters in it. We are fortunate to have some depth in that area,” Atkins said.
For now, Hernández is a one-year acquisition by Seattle. He is entering his final season of being eligible for arbitration before hitting free agency after the 2023 season.
Hernandez made $10.65 million last year with the Blue Jays. He’ll turn 31 next October during what the Mariners hope is another playoff run.
Harper to have elbow surgery
Bryce Harper at last will have surgery next week to address the tear in the ulnar collateral ligament of his right elbow that forced the outfielder to spend the bulk of this season as designated hitter.
The Phillies knew surgery was on the table once Harper suffered the small tear in April, and their surprising postseason run only delayed the inevitable. It was a tradeoff NL champion Philadelphia would take, of course, but the possibility looms large that Harper might not be ready for opening day on March 30 at Texas.
Phillies president Dave Dombrowski said there was no timetable on Harper’s recovery until after the surgery, which is scheduled for Nov. 23.
“We have no prognosis, really, until he goes into the elbow and takes a look at it,” Dombrowski said of the surgeon. “We’ll have something at that time with the surgery and the anticipation something will happen. I would think it will slow him down for the season. We’ll know more next week.”
There are options: Harper could need Tommy John surgery (where a healthy tendon is used to replace a torn ligament) or he could face an easier repair of the existing ulnar collateral ligament. That won’t be known until he goes under the knife.
Harper last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in his elbow in May and shifted to the designated hitter role. Harper met Monday with prominent orthopedist Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.
“We always knew that was a possibility,” Dombrowski said. “We’ve known that for months.”
The elbow injury did little to slow Harper’s offense. The 30-year-old led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston.
In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. He still hit .286 with 18 home runs and 65 RBIs for the season. He was named NLCS MVP and hit six home runs overall in the playoffs.
Anderson, Angels finalize deal
All-Star lefthander Tyler Anderson is moving across Los Angeles, finalizing a $39 million, three-year contract with the Angels.
The 32-year-old is coming off the best season of his major league career with the Dodgers, going 15-5 with a 2.57 ERA with a pitch selection including one of the majors’ best changeups. After starting the year with two relief appearances, Anderson moved into the rotation and ultimately made 28 starts, setting career bests in innings pitched, ERA, and victories. He was 10-1 at the All-Star break and was selected for the Midsummer Classic for the first time, although he didn’t get to pitch in the game at Dodger Stadium.
Anderson is 44-43 with a 4.16 ERA in his career while pitching almost exclusively as a starter for Colorado (2016-19), San Francisco (2020), Pittsburgh (2021), Seattle (2021) and the Dodgers.
Anderson will get $13 million annually from the Angels, who had at least one opening in a rotation that was significantly improved in 2022 after several seasons of poor performance. He joins Shohei Ohtani, Patrick Sandoval, Reid Detmers and Jose Suarez as probable starters next year for the Halos, who have used a six-man rotation when Ohtani is playing two ways.