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Mariners acquire INF Ryon Healy from A’s for RHP Emilio Pagan

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The M’s have filled a hole for 2018.

MLB: Houston Astros at Oakland Athletics Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

We have our first Jerry Dipoto trade of the offseason! The Mariners have acquired Oakland A’s infielder Ryon Healy for reliever Emilio Pagan and 17-year-old infielder Alexander Campos.

The M’s will plug Healy in as the team’s first baseman in 2018 and, in theory, beyond.

Healy was a steady bat for Oakland last year as the 25-year-old slashed .271/.302/.451 with 25 bombs. The guy doesn’t walk a whole lot (3.8%), strikes out a bunch (23.5%), and graded out pretty poorly defensively last year. A permanent move to first base should at least mitigate the latter issue.

Healy is under club control through 2022 and is still under the MLB minimum salary for the next couple years as he’s amassed just two years of service time so far.

The M’s could either use him as a full-time first baseman or platoon him with a lefty to neutralize his 89 wRC+ against righties in 2017. Take a look at what John wrote up on Healy earlier this year for a better idea of what he can provide.

The price for the M’s was Pagan and Campos. Campos is a deep lottery ticket as a guy who was still playing in the DSL, while Pagan was a major contributor down the stretch for Seattle in 2017.

Pagan emerged as a young, effective bullpen arm who could work in short or medium-length stints. Although Pagan is a year older than Healy, he does have one more year of team control than the infielder. The M’s are going to have to hope that some of their young relievers in the minors such as Art Warren and/or Matt Festa can continue their success and provide cheap help soon to fill the gap.

Healy’s acquisition means that Yonder Alonso will almost certainly move on to another club in 2018. The Mariners should also halt their pursuit of Carlos Santana after this.

The good news is this means there’s one positional need checked off without having spent a lot of money to get there. From here, the M’s can splurge in other areas. Perhaps they’ll try their luck with Jarrod Dyson or Lorenzo Cain to shore up center field. Or even better: the M’s could be setting up their chips for a run at Yu Darvish or Shohei Ohtani.

Even in isolation, this is a move that makes a lot of sense for Seattle if they can fill the gap that Pagan leaves without giving up a lot of salary or talent. But I’d be surprised if this move doesn’t lead to something bigger.