MLB Insider: Mariners, Brewers’ Kolten Wong-Jesse Winker swap a win-win for each team

Seattle Mariners left fielder Jesse Winker. (Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports)
Seattle Mariners left fielder Jesse Winker. (Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Mariners and Brewers were perfect trade partners, both achieving exactly what they wanted in the Kolten Wong-Jesse Winker swap.

In recent days, the Milwaukee Brewers had been aggressively shopping second baseman Kolten Wong. The team wanted to create an opening for rookie infielder Brice Turang and allocate Wong’s $10 million salary to a different part of the roster.

On Friday, the Brewers agreed to trade Wong to the Seattle Mariners for outfielder Jesse Winker and infielder Abraham Toro, according to sources. The deal is pending physicals.

“This is quite an interesting trade,” one rival executive said. “And one that I like for Milwaukee a lot.”

The Mariners and Brewers both got what they needed from Wong-Winker trade

The Mariners had emerged as the most obvious destination for Wong, as they were seeking a left-handed hitting second baseman. But they were one of a few teams to engage the Brewers about a trade in recent days, sources say, with the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers being among them.

In acquiring Wong, the Mariners filled their hole at second base, at least temporarily. He’s signed for only one season ($10 million) and continues the front office’s aggressiveness toward building a legit World Series contender.

But Wong is coming off a confusing season — arguably his best offensive season and worst defensive season — though he told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that lower leg injuries were to blame for his defensive woes. So there’s reason to believe that he will bounce back defensively in Seattle.

Acquiring Wong came at a cost. They parted with Winker, who is a strong candidate to bounce back following a down 2022 season, and Toro, who is a darling among rival analytics staffs and under team control for the next four seasons.

Winker, 29, is expected to be a strong designated hitter candidate in Milwaukee next season. Toro, 25, has the ability to play all infield positions (besides shortstop) and should improve upon his down season at the plate in which he hit a mediocre .185/.239/.324 with 10 home runs and 35 RBI. And the trade successfully opened up second base for Turang, their top infield prospect.

The Mariners had been shopping Winker, sources say, and also talked to the Los Angeles Dodgers about a potential trade.

With this deal, each team accomplished what it wanted. The Mariners added the second baseman they had coveted all offseason while the Brewers shed Wong’s salary and successfully allocated it to a different part of the roster.

Each team is not done. The Mariners will continue adding to their roster. The Brewers, meanwhile, are highly unlikely to trade either Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff and Willy Adames and are expected to add pieces around them to remain competitive in 2023.

Next. Grading the Kolten Wong trade. dark