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.