What it may cost to acquire Jesse Winker
Winker is entering his final year of a two-year extension he signed last off-season and will be hitting free agency after the 2023 season. Being an impending free agent coming off of a down year, Winker’s trade value is at an all-time low.
The Mariners may not need to move him, but they certainly have a lot of incentive to after the issues he had with other players in 2022. Club’s could even use that as leverage to give up less in a given trade. There are not any clear candidates for a Winker deal on the Cardinals roster, but Seattle may be interested in reloading their farm system to go out and acquire better fits this winter or at next year’s deadline.
Here is one idea of a trade that could get a Winker deal done.
The exact names aren’t necessarily what should be latched onto here, but I think this may be the kind of value that Winker would be commanding in free agency. Let’s compare this to the deal the Mariners just made for Teoscar Hernandez.
Seattle sent the Blue Jays an elite set-up man in Erik Swanson who has some team control left, as well as their #8 prospect, LHP Adam Macko. Hernandez was coming off another .800+ OPS season with one year left on his contract, but being a right-handed, corner outfielder lessens the value a little bit.
Winker is one of those coveted left-handed bats that teams want, but coming off a major down year and club’s around the league knowing the issues Seattle had with him, his value should have dropped quite a bit. Still, the potential of someone who can mash against right-handed pitching is still there, so some value must be given.
Alec Burleson has risen quickly through the Cardinals organization as he raked through each level of the minor leagues. His bat does not have a clear spot in St. Louis in 2023, but he is clearly major league ready. The Cardinals could decide to cash in his value for an asset that, if he bounces back, could be great value for their lineup in 2023. Dionys Rodriguez is a low level pitching prospect that could add some intrigue for Seattle.
Even if Winker does not regain his level of play from 2020 and 2021, even just a small improvement from 2022 would make him a great option for the Cardinals lineup. Let’s see if St. Louis ends up being a player for Winker as the hot stove heats up.