The Seattle Mariners found a way to add another All-Star to their roster after the trade deadline. With the team just 1.5 games out of a a wild card spot, the Mariners acquired Oakland Athletics first baseman Yonder Alonso in the season’s first major waiver trade.
Alonso was an All-Star for the first time in his career earlier this season. The 30-year-old is hitting .266/.369/.527, with 22 home runs, over 371 plate appearances. After a strong start to the season, Alonso went into a slump in July, hitting just .227 for the month.
Alonso has been far more effective against right-handers, hitting .286/.391/.557 against them this year. He struggles against lefties, though, hitting just .188.
That won’t be a problem for the Mariners. The team already has Danny Valencia, who hits lefties to the tune of .297/.368/.505. Together, Valencia and Alonso will combine to give the Mariners a fearsome combination at first base.
Mariners first basemen are hitting just .235/.286/.358 against righties this year. The team’s 74 wRC+, an advanced stat that measures offensive performance, ranks 28th. With Alonso, the A’s have a 151 wRC+ against right-handers. He should be a significant upgrade for Seattle.
Alonso is in the final year of his contract, and is set to be a free-agent at the end of the season.
In exchange, the Athletics received left-handed first baseman Boog Powell. No, he’s not the same Boog Powell you remember from the Baltimore Orioles. And no, he’s not related to that guy. This Boog Powell’s real name is Hershel, but he goes by Boog … because why not?
The 24-year-old Powell is hitting .340/.416/.490 over 239 plate appearances in Triple-A. He got a brief taste of the majors this year, hitting .194 over 43 plate appearances. Powell did not rank among the team’s top-30 prospects entering the season according to Baseball America.
Oakland should be familiar with Powell, though. The team drafted him in the 20th round of the 2012 draft. Since then, he’s made his way around the country before coming back to Oakland.
The A’s traded Powell to the Tampa Bay Rays in 2015. The Rays then traded him to the Mariners that same season. Now, the A’s got him back in a deal with the Mariners. Powell also served an 80-game suspension after testing positive for PEDs last June. It’s been quite the journey.
The Alonso deal is yet another indication that the Mariners are determined to end their lengthy playoff drought. The team hasn’t made the postseason since 2001, the longest streak in the majors.
Seattle’s core is getting older. After some excellent early seasons, Felix Hernandez has worn down recently. Both Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz have remained fantastic, but it gets tougher to expect them to keep it up with every year that passes.
By adding Alonso, the team has shown a willingness to try and strike before the current core experiences significant decline. Provided he recovers from his July slump, Alonso will help them get there. Seattle will once again play meaningful games down the stretch in 2017.
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