At their preseason press conference, the Mariners revealed Mitch Haniger will miss most or all of Spring Training, and likely not return until mid-to-late April, following core surgery suffered while rehabbing from his ruptured testicle last year.
The Haniger injury stems from the surgery to repair a ruptured testicle last season. A hernia or core injury were possibilities if Haniger pushed too much in his recovery and rehab.— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) January 23, 2020
Haniger has a reputation as a hard worker - something typically needed to reach the level of success he’s achieved in baseball. That same tendency, however, is alluded above to have played a role in Haniger’s exacerbation of his injury. Hopefully he’ll be able to recover fully from this surgery and perform at an All-Star level once again.
In the interim, the Mariners will have a few options. They can stick with internal options, working with Mallex Smith, Jake Fraley, Kyle Lewis, and Braden Bishop as obvious immediate options. The free agent market has thinned significantly, but Seattle could make a move if they so desired for a veteran addition, or even an upside play like Yasiel Puig, who could be flipped at the deadline with a hot first half. The other option could be to look to the trade market, where a highly-paid, ill-fitting outfielder could be targeted - someone like Ian Desmond, Ryan Braun, Wil Myers, or Jason Heyward. It’s a far unlikelier option, but would be a good way for the club to strengthen their farm system as an accompaniment to taking on a heftier contract. Likeliest will be a minor league deal or two with a NRI invitation, and a Spring Training competition to see who will get the extra playing time out of the gate.