If you had “Kristopher Negrón” as the first player traded from the Mariners at the 2019 trade deadline, raise your hand, then put it down and slap yourself across the face with it, you big liar. We’d been hearing rumblings from immediately post-game that Negrón was collecting hugs and handshakes from his teammates, which seemed like an overly-jovial response for being sent back to the moon (also known as the Pacific Coast League), but also, the alternative is someone wanted Kristopher Negron? Enough to trade for him? A lid for every pot, I suppose, or to paraphrase Samuel Beckett, there’s a little bit of everything in nature, and freaks are more common than you think.
Look, I don’t mean to drag Kris Kross, but he’s 33 and doesn’t exactly have a sterling MLB track history. What he does have is the ability to play every position on the field but catcher and pitcher (and hey, who knows) and some pretty good Triple-A numbers. Apparently that’s good enough for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are apparently about to put utilityman and delightful human Kiké Hernández on the IL, and so could use the services of someone they could play basically anywhere (seriously, try him at catcher, Dodgers, you never know). Chris Taylor—you remember him, right?—can also play virtually anywhere, but is naturally a shortstop, which just happens to be Negrón’s least-good of the various positions he plays, so the fit from a defensive perspective makes sense. More immediately, Taylor is on the IL for a while after breaking his arm in mid-July. From the offensive perspective, it’s the literal Dodgers, so who cares. Cody Bellinger will just smile, tuck Negrón into his cheek like a squirrel, and ferry him around the bases.
In return, the Mariners are getting about what you’d expect for a 33-year-old utility player with a dodgy MLB track record. Daniel Castro is 26, a relative baby comparatively, and has had arguably even less success than Negrón at the MLB level, where he’s had stints with the Braves and the Rockies. (I say arguably because Castro has been objectively worse, by fWAR, but also, Negrón hasn’t had the same opportunity to perhaps be as bad.) Castro, a Mexican native, signed a free agent deal with the Dodgers prior to this season after he elected free agency last season. Maybe the Mariners see something in Castro they like, although it’s not his 48 wRC+ for the Oklahoma City Dodgers.
Probably what the Mariners like is the fact that they don’t have to use a 40-man spot on Castro, freeing up a spot for OF Keon Broxton, recently acquired off waivers from the Orioles. Broxton will be able to play in the field starting after the off day, something Domingo Santana can’t currently do as he’s dealing with some elbow pain. Meanwhile, they send Negrón off to get to play for a contender, a nice gesture towards him. Maybe [adjusts tinfoil hat] this is also a way for the Mariners to apologize for scooping away top international prospect Kristian Cardozo when he couldn’t come to terms with the Dodgers. No offense to Negrón, who I hope has a dynamite time being a Dodger, but Kristian > Kristopher.