Teoscar Hernández discusses being traded to the Seattle Mariners
Photo credit:Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports
7 months ago
Last season, the Toronto Blue Jays’ postseason aspirations came crashing down in the second game of the AL Wild Card, as the Blue Jays squandered an 8-1 lead to the Seattle Mariners that ended with George Springer leaving on a golf cart after colliding with Bo Bichette late in the game. With playoff baseball returning to Toronto for the first time since 2016, the Jays are still looking for a postseason victory, which has eluded them for over seven years as they were swept back in 2020.
Following the playoff elimination, some changes were made to the Jays roster. Top prospect Gabriel Moreno and outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. were sent to Arizona with defensive-minded Daulton Varsho coming back while free agents Ross Stripling and Jackie Bradley Jr. signed elsewhere, with Ramiel Tapia being non-tendered as well. The Jays in return signed Chris Bassitt to a three-year deal. They added some veteran talent in the form of Kevin Keirmaier, Brandon Belt, and Chad Green, who is still recovering from Tommy John surgery and won’t be available until later this year.
The first change however was the Blue Jays’ trading of longtime outfielder Teoscar Hernández to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for reliever Erik Swanson and pitching prospect Adam Macko, who is currently throwing down in High-A Vancouver.
Former Blue Jays Outfielder Teoscar Hernández Returns to The Rogers Centre
Hernández was acquired alongside Nori Aoki by the Blue Jays back at the 2017 trade deadline, with veteran left-hander Francisco Liriano being sent to the Houston Astros in exchange. It took a couple of seasons for Hernández to get his footing at the big league level but by 2020, he has emerged as a dangerous threat in the batter’s box with the ability to hit for power on any given night.
Through six seasons with the Jays, Hernández crafted a .263/.320/.503 slash line with 129 home runs, 369 RBIs, and a .823 OPS with 35 stolen bases. He made one All-Star appearance back in 2021 and earned two Silver Slugger Awards as well, earning a collective 122 OPS+ in the process. Hernández made a splash during that Wild Card series against the Mariners last year, blasting two home runs with four runs batted in during Game #2 that looked like it was enough to give the Jays the lead until the late-inning collapse. Defensively, the Dominican-born outfielder split most of his time between the corner outfield spots while also appearing in 110 games in centre as well. Hernández struggled at times defensively for the Jays, either taking awkward routes to the ball or getting late breaks to line drives that saw him post a -24 DRS split between all outfield positions.
With his new squad, Hernández has had a slow start to the year offensively, posting a .209/.248/.427 with seven home runs and a .675 OPS. He currently leads the AL with 38 strikeouts and has just two walks on the season but continues to hit the ball hard, sitting in the 75th percentile in HardHit%. Surprisingly enough, his fielding ability has seen some massive improvements, with the right fielder currently owning a 5 DRS through 25 games in the outfield with one error on the year compared to three outfield assist. He also sits in the 81st percentile in Outs Above Average and in the 79th percentile with his arm strength, likely a contributing factor for his three assists to begin the season.
Hernández Discusses the Trade
With the Mariners in town for a three-game series, Hernández was asked about the trade, “It was not a surprise… I was seeing a lot of tweets on social media that it might happen during the off-season. I wasn’t thinking it would be that quick, but it happened right away.”
The right-handed batter was one player that was on the trade radar early after the postseason exit, as Hernández is free agent eligible following the 2023 season and it was highly unlikely the Jays were going to be able to extend him with other core players like Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and Alek Manoah needing long-term contracts in the near future. “Especially me, I was here for six years and spent a lot of time with the boys. But it is what it is. It’s a business and they do the best they can to make the team better. That’s the way they feel, so they traded me.”
Hernández was a big part of the organization for a number of years and he got a healthy standing ovation from the fans prior to his first at-bat at the Rogers Centre. Over the weekend though, Hernández struggled mightily in the box, striking out seven times with one walk and one hit, a solo home run in today’s contest off of reliever Trevor Richards. Overall, the Blue Jays walked away with the series win, taking two of three after blowing the lead late in the game earlier today.
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