Should the Detroit Tigers trade for Jesse Winker?
Jesse Winker is likely on his way out of Seattle. Should the Detroit Tigers make a move for him?
New Detroit Tigers president of baseball operations Scott Harris has talked endlessly about wanting to dominate the strike zone since he was hired on Sept. 19. We’ve been searching for the kind of players that Harris could go after to acheive that goal, and an interesting one just potentially popped up on the market.
According to Ryan Divish of ESPN 710 in Seattle, Mariners outfielder Jesse Winker has falled out of favor in the clubhouse. He is said to be kind of a slacker, which is the exact opposite of fellow Mariners outfielder Mitch Haniger. You can read more about this situation from our colleagues over at Sodo Mojo.
Because of all this, it sure seems like the Mariners are ready to move on from him. Should Scott Harris give Jerry Dipoto a call?
Winker had a down year this year after coming over from the Cincinnati Reds this offseason along withcin Eugenio Suarez. The 29-year-old slashed .219/.344/.344 with a career-low 108 wRC+. However, he walked at a 15.4% clip and struck out just about 19% of the time, which would fit Harris’ motif. It would also be the last year of his contract, in which he is set to make $7.3 million. Would the low work ethic be worth the risk?
There are arguments to be made both for and against this move. For starters, Winker does seem like a bounce-back candidate. He put up a 147 wRC+ in 110 games with the Reds in 2021. He’s always been a low-strikeout, high-walk guy. He’s been a good hitter before, so there’s no reason he can’t get to that level again.
But the downsides start with his defense—or lack thereof. He’s never been a good defender, and the Mariners tried to get him to work on it, but it sounds like he just wasn’t willing to for whatever reason. They tried to make him a DH, but his offense wasn’t cutting it enough. They even ended up trading for Carlos Santana in June in hopes of getting more offense out of that spot.
He’s also a left-handed hitter, and the Detroit Tigers have a surplus of left-handed hitting outfielders. Riley Greene, Austin Meadows, Akil Baddoo, Kerry Carpenter, and even Parker Meadows are all lefty outfielders who at the very least *could* get some at-bats next year. It would be one thing if he played decent defense to separate himself from the pack, but since he doesn’t, acquiring him may seem redundant.
Then there’s the issue of his supposedly poor work ethic. If it’s truly as bad as Divish says, it just may not be worth the hassle. Maybe he just doesn’t like playing in Seattle. No one really knows.
The cons seems to outweigh the pros here, unfortunately. If the Tigers believe they can get Winker back to his Cincinnati form, then maybe they’ll pull the trigger on a deal. If not, maybe Harris will look elsewhere.