erik lundegaard

Thursday February 02, 2023

Kyle, We Hardly Knew Ye

I missed the Kyle Lewis trade last November. In my defense, I was down with COVID. 

My friend Jeff and I were there for his first game in Sept. 2019 when he homered in his second Major League at-bat. He had a nice cup of coffee that September, too: .268/.293/.593. OK, so the OBP should've been worrisome, particularly since everything else was in place: 29 Ks to 3 walks? Still, we were hopeful. 

And though the next season was truncated by the COVID pandemic, he did well, .262/.364/.437, and stabilized that K-BB ratio somewhat: 71-34. He got named A.L. Rookie of the Year (for that awful year), the fourth Mariner so honored, and first since Ichiro in 2001. And if you discount players like Ichiro and Kazahiro Sasaki, who, let's face it, played in professional leagues before MLB, then Kyle was the first Mariner ROY since Alvin Davis in 1984. Either way, it was a helluva beginning. All the world like a woolen lover did seem on Kyle's side. And maybe ours.

Then in 2021 he crashed into the wall in a spring training game against the Dodgers. Bone bruise. 10-Day IL. He came back in late April, played in May, but went back on the IL in June. Same knee, torn meniscus. Surgery. He didn't return until May 2022 and was rusty. A month later he took a curveball to the head—concussion—and things got worse. Plus his spot in center field was taken by the guy who would become the Mariners' fifth Rookie of the Year, and the new face of the franchise, Julio Rodriguez. Lewis was hiting .143 when the M's sent him down to AAA in early August.

And now this. Or then this. November this. Traded to Arizona.

So who did we get for him? Outfielder/catcher Cooper Hummel. About whom I have nothing but questions:

  • How good is he? Not great. Last year in 66 game he sported a .176/.274/.307 line and a -0.3 WAR. 
  • Huh. He must be young. No, he's 28, a year older than Kyle. 
  • Is he good defensively? Not apparently. -0.3 defensive WAR, too.
  • OK, did he improve as the season progressed? Maybe. His best split is from 10 games in September. A .710 OPS.

That seems like not much to get for a guy two years removed from ROY. Though there's this from Ryan Divish's column on the trade: “Mariners' analysts loved him, particularly his ability to control the strike zone at the plate. He had a career .397 on-base percentage in six seasons in the minor leagues.” One assumes he'll be our backup catcher rather than our sixth or 12th outfielder. 

All in all, a sad, sudden end, for Kyle and the Mariners (and us), after such a promising start. Godspeed.

Posted at 01:10 PM on Thursday February 02, 2023 in category Seattle Mariners  
« Movie Review: The Oklahoma Kid (1939)   |   Home   |   Movie Review: The Greeks Had a Word for Them (1932) »