Just one year ago, a Mitch Haniger pursuit would’ve found its way to the peak of the baseball trade mountain, and finding out the Dodgers were involved would’ve been completely natural. The Angels? Well, considering their continued mediocrity and their residence within the Seattle Mariners’ division, that would’ve been more of a stretch.
But this offseason? After a down Haniger season and the potential to swipe him as a bounce back candidate for money alone, both the league’s smart teams (Dodgers) and the bargain hunters (Angels) will converge in an effort to sweep the slugger off his feet.
In 2021, Haniger busted out with 39 homers, 100 RBI, and an .803 OPS after it seemed his early-career momentum had petered out a bit. His first few seasons in Seattle after being set free from the Diamondbacks were gangbusters — when he was healthy. 2019, though, seemed to represent a dip; it was his first season since becoming a full-time player where his OPS fell below .800.
In ’21, the pendulum swung back in the right direction. ’22? Back and ankle issues knocked his game backwards again, taking Haniger out of more games than he missed in 2019, when he suffered a serious injury that no one wants to talk about.
Now, entering free agency, it seems like a fait accompli Haniger will garner an offer large enough that he leaves Seattle. Per Jon Morosi, the Dodgers will be involved, hoping to replicate the magic in left field (or right field, with Mookie Betts moving to center or the infield). The Angels and Rangers will also be competing for the slugger’s services.
Dodgers Rumors: Angels, Dodgers, Rangers in on Mitch Haniger
The Rangers will likely be competing with the Dodgers in more races than just the Haniger chase, considering both teams are sitting in the high-end pitching market with money to spend. It’s also safe to say that if either team nets Haniger, they shouldn’t be counted out of the Jacob deGrom chase.
The Angels? They already drew first blood with the Dodgers last week when Tyler Anderson started free agency early and bolted ahead of the qualifying offer deadline. Could LAA be tempted to beef up their offense with Haniger, who owns a dominant career OPS mark at Angel Stadium?
The Dodgers have pricier concerns to deal with, but a two-year deal for Haniger fits with their “I can fix him” ethos, especially as the outfielder’s production seems to be theoretically waning. Don’t expect LA to win a bidding war if things get nasty, but they’ll be prominently involved.