SEATTLE — Still in the initial stages of the offseason, general manager Jerry Dipoto and the Seattle Mariners believe they’ve solved one of their big concerns.
The Mariners acquired power-hitting infielder Ryon Healy from the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday for right-handed reliever Emilio Pagan and minor league shortstop Alexander Campos.
Seattle acquired Healy with the intent that he will be its everyday first baseman going into the 2018 season.
“One of the things we joked about internally is just keeping him from doing damage against us probably makes us a better team,” Dipoto said.
The 25-year-old Healy batted .271 with 25 home runs, 29 doubles and 78 RBIs this season. He split his time at designated hitter, first base and third base. The Mariners saw enough of Healy at first to feel confident with his ability to handle the position on a full-time basis.
Healy made his big league debut in 2016 with the A’s. He struck out 142 times this year and drew 23 walks. Dipoto said discussions about a deal for Healy started soon after the end of the regular season.
“It’s very, very exciting especially with the team that’s built there and had a lot of success already in Seattle,” Healy said. “I’m excited for the opportunity to step in and hopefully help this team get to the next level.”
First base was one of the obvious issues for Seattle to solve in the offseason. Danny Valencia and Yonder Alonso are both free agents. Young prospect Daniel Vogelbach has struggled during his limited opportunity with the Mariners.
Landing Healy fit with Dipoto’s goal of keeping Seattle competitive now while also restocking the club with younger stars under club control for a number of seasons. Seattle will have five seasons of club control with Healy.
“For us to solve or put a first baseman in place after going year-to-year for such a long time here with first base as a question mark we’re hopeful Ryon will step in and solve a good deal of that problem,” Dipoto said. “He’s a good offensive player and gives us that right-handed power element.”
Pagan made his major league debut this year and went 2-3 with a 3.22 ERA in 34 games for Seattle. The 26-year-old struck out 56 and walked eight in 50-1/3 innings.
The 17-year-old Campos hit .290 with two homers and 26 RBIs in 59 games for the Mariners’ team in the Dominican Summer League.