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  • Wong Traded to Mariners for Jesse Winker and Abraham Toro

    Brock Beauchamp

    After picking up Wong's 2023 option for $10m, the Brewers have now traded the second baseman to the Seattle Mariners for left fielder Jesse Winker and third baseman Abraham Toro.

    Image courtesy of © Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

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    Ken Rosenthal reports that the Brewers have traded one year of second baseman Kolten Wong to the Mariners for a pair of underperforming Mariners players, Jesse Winker and Abraham Toro.

    Wong had his $10m 2023 option picked up by the Brewers last month, which was, in essence, an $8m addition to the roster due to a $2m buyout cost. Jesse Winker, a former standout Reds player who joined Seattle before the 2022 season in a multi-prospect deal, comes back from Seattle, and Abraham Toros, an infielder who has struggled to hit at the Major League level but has several years of team control remaining.

    Jesse Winker, a 29-year-old left-handed left fielder, was a top 50 global prospect in the Reds system before breaking out in 2017 and 2018, posting a 128 OPS+ over 471 plate appearances. He continued to be a well-above-average bat for the Reds until he was traded to the Mariners last offseason. He regressed offensively last season in Seattle, losing nearly 100 points of batting average and 200 points of slugging percentage. While some of that regression is likely due to leaving the Great American Ballpark and playing instead in the more cavernous Seattle park, it's reasonable to expect some bounce back from a player with good career stats (123 OPS+ in 2070 career plate appearances). Given that Winker played much of his career in the National League Central division, he has played in American Family 32 times, posting an absurd 1.032 OPS. Winker, like Wong, will become a free agent following the 2023 season.

    Abraham Toro was more intriguing in this trade, drafted by the Houston Astros before being traded to the Mariners during the 2021 season. Toro, like Wong, is viewed as a flexibility infielder, having split his MLB time between second and third base. Toro had a breakout season as a prospect in 2019, posting a .938 OPS split between AA and AAA (note that some of that time was spent in the Pacific Coast League, a hitting haven) but has since faltered with the bat, posting just a 74 OPS+ over 913 career plate appearances. While only 25 years old without even 1,000 career major league plate appearances, there is still upside left in Toro's bat; now it's just a question of whether the Brewers can exploit the potential of the switch-hitting infielder.

    Which the Brewers will have the time to figure out, as Toro still has four years remaining of team control before becoming a free agent.

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