Mitch Haniger
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The Mariners aren’t likely to trade Mitch Haniger or Edwin Díaz this offseason

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While the Mariners have already shaken up their core group of players after dealing Mike Zunino to the Rays and James Paxton to the Yankees, ESPN’s Buster Olney hears that the team is unlikely to entertain offers for All-Star outfielder Mitch Haniger and closer Edwin Díaz. Per Olney, they would have to be “completely overwhelmed to consider a deal for either.”

It’s not an entirely out-of-the-blue statement to make considering that both players turned in career-best performances with the Mariners last year. Haniger, 27, became one of the team’s top producers at the plate after he slashed a robust .285/.366/.493 with 26 home runs, an .859 OPS and 4.6 fWAR across 683 plate appearances. In addition to securing his first All-Star nomination, he experienced a significant second-half surge and placed 11th in AL MVP votes at the end of the year. He’s currently slated to remain under team control through the 2022 season and will enter free agency prior to his age-32 season in 2023.

Díaz, likewise, is coming off of a remarkable run in Seattle. The 24-year-old reliever and first-time All-Star dazzled with a league-leading 57 saves in 2018, complemented by a 1.96 ERA, 2.1 BB/9, 15.2 SO/9 and 3.5 fWAR through 73 1/3 innings. His performance earned consideration for the AL Cy Young Award and MVP honors, and he’s given no sign of slowing down as he approaches his final four years under team control, either.

No interested parties have been linked to either of these star players just yet, though it stands to reason that they would each command a hefty return if the Mariners decide to go full steam ahead on the rebuild they’re reportedly considering. Previous comments from GM Jerry Dipoto suggested that the team is open to offers on everyone else (with the possible exception of southpaw Marco Gonzales) as they try to suss out whether another run at the postseason will be feasible in 2019 — or whether it’s better to start stockpiling fresh talent in order to contend further down the line.

Phillies-Mets could get contentious tonight

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As the Mets were wrapping up a 9-0 shellacking of the Phillies on Tuesday night, reliever Jacob Rhame threw a pitch up and in to first baseman Rhys Hoskins with two outs in the ninth inning. The pitch sailed behind Hoskins’ back. The slugger wasn’t happy about the scare, understandably. Players began to trickle out of their respective dugouts, but a fracas was avoided.

Hoskins was skeptical that Rhame simply missed his spot. Per MLB.com’s Thomas Harrigan, Hoskins said, “He didn’t miss up and in the rest of the inning, so I’ll let you decide. I would assume teams are pitching me in because that’s where they think they can get me out, and that’s fine. That’s part of the game. Again, I think most guys are capable of pitching inside and not missing that bad.”

Teammate Bryce Harper said, “I don’t get it. I understand that two of their guys got hit yesterday. But, I mean, if it’s baseball and you’re going to drill somebody, at least hit him in the [butt]. Not in the head. You throw 98, it’s scary now. You could kill somebody. Lose your eyesight. That’s bigger than the game.”

Indeed, two Mets were hit by pitches on Monday night. José Álvarez hit Jeff McNeil in the seventh inning, which advanced a base runner. In the very next at-bat, Juan Nicasio hit Pete Alonso with a first-pitch fastball. It was obvious neither was intentional as the Phillies were only down two runs and hitting both batters advanced base runners and led to runs scoring. It is less obvious that Rhame’s pitch to Hoskins was unintentional, but he showed empathy in his post-game comments. Rhame said, “When you accidentally sail one, it’s probably pretty scary. I’d get [angry], too.”

Will Wednesday night’s series finale be contentious? Despite being “fairly upset,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said, “We do not retaliate, and we do not throw at anybody intentionally,” Jake Seiner of the Associated Press reports.

Mets manager Mickey Calloway didn’t give as straight an answer. Per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, Calloway said, “I think at this point, you just go out there and beat people, and win. … For now, I don’t feel like anything has been intentional at us that has warranted anything from our side.” If that changes, however, Calloway said, “They’re going to have each other’s backs.”

Hopefully, neither side decides to take justice into their own hands. But, welcome to the NL East in 2019. The Mets lead the Phillies by one game, and the Braves and Nationals by 1.5 games. It’s going to be a knock-down, drag-out division fight all year long.