On Thursday, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported (subscription required) that both the SF Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers had expressed interest in veteran infielder Kolten Wong. However, that ship sailed on Friday when the Milwaukee Brewers shipped Wong to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for outfielder Jesse Winker and infielder Abraham Toro.
Potential SF Giants infield target traded to the Seattle Mariners
Perhaps, Wong is more likely to join the Giants now that he is on the Mariners. After all, the Giants and Mariners completed at least 50 trades this year. Maybe more.
Milwaukee picked up Wong's $10 million team option for 2023 earlier in the offseason, but it felt like they were in cost-cutting mode, especially after already shipping power-hitting outfielder Hunter Renfroe to the Los Angeles Angels for a trio of prospects.
Wong's $10 million salary would have placed him as the fourth-highest paid player on the Brewers roster for 2023 in teams of average annual value. Given that he is on an expiring contract, he was also one of the easier players to trade.
San Francisco is in need of at least a couple of infielders this winter, so it was not surprising to see them check in on Wong. He is coming off of a very nice season in which he slashed .251/.339/.430 (116 wRC+) with 15 home runs, 47 RBI, and 65 runs in 497 plate appearances. This includes a 9.3 percent walk rate against a 17.7 percent strikeout rate.
The left-handed bat posted a very strong 135 wRC+ in 350 plate appearances against right-handed pitching, so he would have given the Giants the type of leverage in platoon matchups that the front office targets.
Wong flashed an above-average glove earlier in his career, but his defense took a sharp dive in 2022. He was worth -1 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and -9 Outs Above Average (OAA) at second base last season and defensive metrics do not generally improve with age.
That could have been an outlier or a product of age regression that comes with losing a step or two in the field. Plus, it bears mentioning that the 32-year-old infielder has little experience outside of second base and the Giants need more versatility on defense.
The Mariners gave up an outfielder coming off of a down year in Jesse Winker and a light-hitting infielder in Abrhram Toro. The Giants could have matched that offer, but it likely would have left them too thin in another area on the roster.
After making the playoffs for the first time in over 20 years, Seattle appears poised to keep that run going as they have been one of the more aggressive teams on the trade market this winter. The good news is that the Winter Meetings are around the corner, so things should start to pick up for the Giants as well.