Mitch Haniger has been brought up in Cardinals trade rumors for a few years now. Jerry Dipoto and the Seattle Mariners love to deal, and Haniger might be a tick too old to be valuable once their top prospects reach the majors. We know there is a relationship with the Cardinals, too, as they traded for Marco Gonzalez a few years back.
A Haniger trade would be the definition of buying low. The 29-year old was an All-Star and received MVP votes in 2018. In 2019, however, he slugged .463 in a limited 63 games before a gruesome foul ball injury sidelined him from June to the end of the year. Unfortunately, that was the last time he took the field, as the pandemic kept Haniger’s rehab from ever really getting off the ground.
There are definitely some risks here with Mitch Haniger. The recent injury history is scary, and he’ll be 30 when the season starts in 2021. Additionally, he brings another right-handed bat to a St. Louis Cardinals lineup that needs more left-handed balance.
The upside, however, might make this worth it. Haniger has two years left on his contract– this year at three million and then one last year in arbitration. You’d be getting a solid player on a friendly deal, which is even more valuable in the fallout from this strange year. Haniger is also consistent in the outfield, playing all three positions throughout his career. A true five-tool player, a healthy Mitch Haniger would immediately improve the lineup.
The question, of course, is what the price would be. There’s a chance the Mariners would want the Cards to pay 2018 value on Haniger, which would be too much. But if the Cardinals can get a discount on this productive superstar, it could be just the right move.