The Indians announced this morning that they have traded first baseman / outfielder Jake bauer to the Mariners in exchange for a player who will be named later. Cleveland nominated Bauers for an assignment over the weekend, paving the way for Bobby bradley to get an opportunity at first base. Mariners named infielder Jack mayfield for a mission to open a spot on the list for Bauers, according to a press release from them.
Bauers, 25, spent part of three seasons at the MLB level but hasn’t produced much in the big leagues yet. He was ranked among the game’s top 75 prospects heading into the 2017 and 2018 seasons on Baseball America, FanGraphs, and MLB.com, but the above-average raw power and hitting tool that contributed to that ranking did not. not yet really obvious. He recorded 924 home plate appearances between Indians and Rays, but only managed a lukewarm slash of .211 / .309 / .365. Bauers walks at a steady 12% pace and can be deployed to any first base, left field or right field.
To many, it probably looks like Bauers is over 25, given his MLB debut was when he was 22. But there is still a relatively young option for the Mariners to try and catch some eclairs in a bottle. He no longer has options for minor leagues, so he will either have to stay on the major league roster or be re-designated for an assignment. However, with the growing injuries the Mariners face on first base and in the outfield, it’s no surprise to see them bring another option.
The Mariners are without a center fielder Kyle lewis indefinitely after the 2020 Rookie of the Year suffered another knee injury late last month. First baseman Evan White still struggled to start the season and has now spent almost a month on the IL with a strained hip flexor. Infield / Outfield Options Sam haggerty (shoulder inflammation) and Dylan moore (calf strain) are also on the shelves right now, with Haggerty in particular out of sight after being moved to the 60-day IL. Meanwhile, uber-prospect Jarred Kelenic fell into a nightmarish slump after pulling off a few early homers to start his MLB career. Seattle referred it back to Triple-A Tacoma this week.
This is the third trade and the fourth set-up for Bauers, a 2013 seventh-round pick that has the distinction of having been involved in a pair of notable three-team trades. He went from Padres to Rays in 2014 Wil myers/Trea turner agreement. After making his Majors debut with the Rays in 2018, he was returned to Cleveland to trade in a trade that coincidentally also involved the Mariners. This agreement sent Edwin Encarnacion and a competitive balance draft pick from Cleveland to Seattle, with the Indians at net Carlos santana and trade Yandy diaz and Cole sulser in Tampa Bay.
As for Mayfield, 30, he has now been nominated for an assignment by a trio of AL West teams over the past year. The Astros, who signed Mayfield as an undrafted free agent in 2013, put him on waivers last November, and he’s since rebounded against the Braves, then the Angels, then the Mariners.
Mayfield is the quintessential light utility infielder. He’s a more than capable defenseman on shortstop, second or third base, but he’s struggled considerably to handle the throws in the big leagues. He has completed 150 laps at home over the past three seasons combined, but had a dismal .168 / .195 / .259 result in that span. Mayfield, however, has a much more impressive .269 / .325 / .475 batting line in parts of five AAA seasons, and he can be selected this year and next. The Mariners will have a week to trade it in or attempt to get it through outright waivers.