You can always count on Seattle Mariners GM, Jerry Dipoto to provide some trade action during the cold, dark winter months. He wasted no time yesterday when he acquired slugging first baseman, Ryon Healy from the Oakland A’s for the right-handed relief pitcher, Emilio Pagan and a minor league shortstop, Alexander Campos.
Healy is only 25 and was drafted by the A’s in the third round of the 2013 draft. He entered the big show in the second half of 2016, slashing .305/.337/.524. Then, in his first full season, he hit 25 home runs, batting .271 with 78 RBIs. His on-base percentage was one of the worst in the American League at just .302.
The Mariners will want to work with Healy to improve his plate discipline. Healy has a Major League walk rate of 3.9%. That’s not great at all. He also strikes out 22.7% of the time. Concerningly his walk rate declined last season whilst his strike rate increased. He posted a 37.3% O-Swing (percentage of pitches outside of the strike zone swung at by a hitter). That is a full 7.3% higher than the American League-wide 2017 rate. I don’t want to be too harsh here as Healy is only 25 and only has one full major league season under his belt.
The appeal with Healy is his power. At age 25, he hit 25 homers last season. Only six of those came in the last two months of the season, so there could be some upside there. Most projection systems have him hitting 20 – 21 home runs next year, but he could also easily reach 30 jacks.
His defense is not something to write home about at all. He was dreadful at third base for the A’s and eventually got moved into a DH role. His defensive stats are better at first base, but he hasn’t played a boat load of games there yet, so the jury is still out. The Mariners seem to be planning to play him at first base.
Jerry DiPoto said the following about Healy, “We are planning on Ryon playing first base in an every-day or near-every-day role or basis. He’s done that over the course of his year and a half in the big leagues. I don’t know that there is a reason why we should stop that. He’s performed quite well against left-hand pitching. You saw a little bit of a dip against righties. But I think that’s the league adjusting to Ryon and now is his chance to adjust back.”
This is by no means a game changing trade for the Mariners, but what it does do is give them a cost effective young, power-hitting, first baseman with a few years of team control. Healy is certainly a lot cheaper than some of the free agents first baseman on the market and he will give you 20+ home runs a season. Healy’s low salary will give Dipoto more room to maneuver elsewhere on the roster where the Mariners have some pressing needs, for example the outfield and starting pitching. A decent move by the Mariners early on in the offseason.