The Seattle Mariners have made a trade! Chris Denorfia is coming over from the San Diego Padres in exchange for Abraham Almonte and Stephen Kohlscheen. This trade instantly makes the Mariners a better team, and hopefully spells the end of Endy Chavez as a member of the active roster.
Who is Chris Denorfia? Denorfia is a right fielder, first and foremost. Defensively he’s fine, no more no less. He’s been in the big leagues since 2005, which I’m sure you didn’t realize. I sure didn’t know that! Weird! He’s 34, which I guess is also a little surprising. He’s a lot more like Marlon Byrd than I ever knew, in that sense.
He’s unlike Byrd in one big way: he isn’t hitting this year. Through 268 plate appearances he’s at .242/.293/.319, good for a 76 wRC+ that puts him just behind guys like Willie Bloomquist and Justin Smoak. More importantly, though, is that he’s hitting better than Endy Chavez or James Jones. Presumably his defense is better, too.
Denorfia has always hit in the past, though his age and general trajectory is unsettling. He’ll be a free agent after this year, so this isn’t any kind of a long-term fix. This is a low-risk gamble on a guy who used to mash left-handed pitching. That’s something the Mariners have had insane struggles with this year, so any kind of a rebound would be a huge boost.
In order to land Denorfia the Mariners had to give up opening day center fielder and leadoff man Abraham Almonte plus AAA reliever Stephen Kohlscheen. Almonte, of course, was otherworldly terrible in Seattle, and hasn’t been much better this season with Tacoma. Kohlscheen is a relief non-prospect who none of us even knew existed until the Mariners got rid of him. This is the kind of return teams give up to rent struggling and limited players. Best of luck to you, Almonte. You were charming, at least for a while before you sucked.
The Mariners are still active, and may yet be the winner of the David Price sweepstakes. If that happens, everything changes. If that doesn’t happen, the 2015 (and beyond) Mariners probably dodged a bullet. Things aren’t about to get any less crazier, is what I’m saying.