The Mariners signed Guillermo Heredia this offseason in an overlooked deal. What can Heredia add to the team in the stretch run of 2016 and beyond?
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The Mariners General Manager Jerry Dipoto signed Cuban outfielder Guillermo Heredia this offseason after his name floated on the free agent wire for an extended period due to general concern about whether his bat would make the transition from the Cuba leagues to the Major Leagues. Heredia is thought of as a plus-defender with good speed with a light bat. After batting .343/.439/.527 in his age-21 season, he slashed .255/.376/.349 in his first Cuban big-league action in the 2013-2014 season.
Heredia defected from Cuba in 2015 after winning several Gold Gloves in the Cuban leagues and playing for Cuba in the World Baseball Classic. He was called up late last month and hit his first major league home run this week.
The Mariners stood pat at the Trade Deadline, unable to convince anyone to hand them an extra outfielder or starting pitcher for nothing. Instead, the Mariners will likely continue to roll with who they have in the organization already, or with anyone they can grab cheaply off waivers. Heredia, who now enters a backup outfield platoon with Franklin Gutierrez, Nori Aoki, and Seth Smith, all with their own set of strengths and weaknesses, has a chance to prove he can hit at the big-league level.
Although Heredia hit his first home run recently for the Mariners, he still has some development to go through to be a regular contributor. In a lineup desperate for speed, all he has to do is get on base the way he proved he could in Cuba (23:27 K:BB ratio in 61 games in Cuba in 2013-2014), he’ll have a crack at a lineup that needs speedy outfielders. We’ll see if he shows Scott Servais enough to stay with the big league club the rest of the way.