The Cincinnati Reds weren’t finished with the wheeling and dealing over the weekend when they traded starting pitcher Sonny Gray to the Minnesota Twins. Today they have traded All-Star outfielder Jesse Winker and third baseman Eugenio Suárez to the Seattle Mariners according to Jeff Passan of ESPN and Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. The return coming back isn’t yet believed to be complete, but Mark Feinsand is reporting that the Reds will get starting pitcher Justin Dunn, outfielder Jake Fraley, and prospect starting pitcher Brandon Williamson. A player to be named later is also in the deal.
Jesse Winker had spent his entire career with the Reds, spanning from 2017-2021 while hitting .288/.385/.504 – good for a 128 OPS+ in his 413 games played. He earned his first All-Star appearance in 2021 while posting a career best .949 OPS.
The Reds seemed to have attached Eugenio Suárez’ contract to the deal as Seattle will take on the entirety of it. He is owed $35,857,144 over the next three seasons, including a $2M buyout on the 2025 season unless the team picks up his $15M option. After having back-to-back outstanding seasons in 2018 and 2019 where he combined to hit 83 home runs and post a .912 OPS, the third baseman has struggled at the plate, hitting just .199/.293/.440 over the last two seasons.
Justin Dunn is the center piece for the return from Seattle. The now 26-year-old starter has 25 big league starts under his belt over the last three seasons where he’s posted a 3.94 ERA. He’s struggled to throw strikes, walking 69 batters in 102.2 innings while striking out 92. How that will play in a hitter friendly ballpark is going to be a big question that will need to be answered, but hopefully Derek Johnson can work with him to cut down on the free passes.
Jake Fraley, like Dunn, has only spent parts of the last three seasons with Seattle in the big leagues. He played in 19 games between 2019 and 2020 with the Mariners, but played in 78 last season. He’s struggled to hit, posting a .196/.320/.336 line in his 97 games at the highest level. There’s a little bit of pop there, and he walks plenty – but he simply hasn’t been able to hit to this point in his career and he’ll turn 27 in May. The outfielder has played all three spots in the big leagues, though most of his time has come in left field. As a left-handed hitter he could potentially be a part of a platoon situation at times.
Brandon Williamson was the Seattle Mariners 2nd round pick in 2019 out of TCU. The 6′ 6″ lefty split last year between High-A Everett and Double-A Arkansas where he posted a 3.39 ERA in 19 starts that spanned 98.1 innings pitched. He walked just 33 batters and picked up 153 strikeouts during the season. Baseball America rated him as the #83 prospect in baseball prior to this year (Seattle’s #5 prospect). His fastball works in the low 90’s but has touched 97 and has good movement. He mixes in an above-average curve in the mid-to-upper 70’s, as well as an average slider and change up.
The purging of the 2021 Cincinnati Reds might not be complete, but they have currently lost Nick Castellanos, Jesse Winker, Wade Miley, Sonny Gray, and Tucker Barnhart, as well as several others who were with the team for less time such as Michael Lorenzen and Mychal Givens. Yikes.