by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
- The Seattle Mariners acquired 1B/3B Ryon Healy
- The Oakland A’s acquired RHP Emilio Pagan & INF Alexander Campos
Seattle Mariners – The Fallout
The acquisition of Healy is an interesting one, as they will utilize him as their 1B moving forward (he’s obviously not going to supplant Kyle Seager at the hot corner and while Nelson Cruz could be utilized in the outfield, he only saw 5 games there in ’17). That means, for at least one season, Dan Vogelbach will be viewed as a depth option either off the bench or at Triple-A (though he could be flipped in a subsequent deal).
It makes sense, after Seattle’s first baseman finished the year with a league worst .389 SLG. It was a spot that needed upgrading, and Healy does bring that potential after hitting .271 with 25 HR for Oakland. What’s interesting, though, is that he actually struggled away from Oakland (.248 with 11 HR over 306 AB) and he also showed poor plate discipline:
- SwStr% – 12.0%
- O-Swing% – 35.8%
While his strikeout dropped as the season progressed, the underlying metrics did not (12.2% SwStr%, 35.0% O-Swing% after the All-Star Break). That’s a red flag, as is the fact that the bulk of his production came against fourseam fastballs (.366 with 14 HR). You have to think that opposing pitchers will alter their approach, giving him a steady diet of breaking balls and offspeed pitches, and if Healy can’t adjust the numbers are going to plummet.
The price Seattle gave up isn’t extreme so the trade makes sense, but by no means is it a given that Healy is ultimately the solution to the problem.
- Ryon Healy’s risk doesn’t change, and it could be greater given his home/road split
- Dan Vogelbach is nothing more than a depth option and barring a trade holds no value
Oakland Athletics – The Fallout
The move was obviously made to clear playing time for Matt Chapman and Matt Olson, though neither offer can’t miss potential. Sure both players have power, they also carry considerable risk in regards to their strikeout rate (SwStr% in ‘17):
- Matt Chapman – 11.5%
- Matt Olson – 13.5%
Carry that with extreme fly ball tendencies and you are talking about a pair of players who may kick in some home runs, but at the cost of your batting average. Would it surprise you if both ultimately hit .220ish and lost their jobs? At a time when power is regularly available, they don’t bring enough to get excited. Even further hammering that home is the chance that the two fall into a platoon, which would limit both of their AB and opportunity.
That said, Pagan could symbolize the A’s next closer. He thrived as a rookie last year, with a 10.01 K/9 and 1.43 BB/9, though a miniscule 22.3% groundball rate made him relatively homer prone (1.25 HR/9). Pitching in Oakland could help to offset that risk, but it’s not going to eliminate it and has been a common theme (he had a 26.3% groundball rate at Triple-A prior to his recall). You also have to wonder if he can maintain his control, while the strikeout rate could regress (his best Whiff% was a solid 17.65%). In other words there’s potential, but it shouldn’t be assumed that he’ll see save chances in ’18 or beyond.
- The move clears playing time for Matt Chapman & Matt Olson, but the risk far outweighs the potential reward. Neither are considered strong buys at this time.
- Emilio Pagan could emerge as the closer of the future, but he has a lot to prove and is far from a given.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball
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