Reds get Dunn, 3 others from M's for Winker, Suárez

March 14th, 2022

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- For the second straight day, the Reds pulled off a stunning trade.

All-Star outfielder Jesse Winker and former All-Star third baseman Eugenio Suárez were traded to the Mariners on Monday. Coming back from Seattle in the deal are right-handed pitcher Justin Dunn, outfielder Jake Fraley, left-handed pitching prospect Brandon Williamson and a player to be named.

It was a transaction that came together fast, according to Reds general manager Nick Krall.

“Some deals take a while. This came up yesterday in the evening and we started down this road probably around 5 p.m. or so,” Krall said.

Reds get:
RHP Justin Dunn, OF Jake Fraley, LHP Brandon Williamson (Seattle's No. 7 prospect), PTBNL
Mariners get: OF Jesse Winker, 3B Eugenio Suárez

Like the deal that sent pitcher Sonny Gray to the Twins on Sunday, Monday’s trade reduced payroll. While Winker was second-year arbitration eligible and earned $3.1 million. Suárez has three years and $35.6 million guaranteed money remaining on his contract, with a $15 million club option for 2025.

Despite the cost-saving moves, Krall declined to categorize the club as having entered a rebuilding phase.

“It also allows us to free up some money to work in the free-agent market and be more proactive in the free-agent and trade markets,” Krall said. “I’m excited for that as well. We have to work through those markets to see where it takes us.

“Once this got finalized, we started making calls with a lot of agents to see where everyone is.”

A first-time All-Star in 2021, the 28-year-old Winker batted .305/.394/.556 with 24 home runs and 71 RBIs in 110 games. He was summoned to David Bell’s office to meet with the manager and Krall.

“I was in the cage with Joey [Votto] like every other year,” Winker said. “We were talking about TikTok and lefty homers. Rick [Stowe, the clubhouse manager] came in and said DB would like to talk to you. We talked. DB and Nick Krall were in there. That’s it.”

Winker was emotional while speaking about leaving the Reds, the only organization he has known since being drafted 49th overall in 2012.

“I’m looking forward to getting to Seattle. I can’t wait,” Winker said. “It’s an opportunity to win. It’s an opportunity to win a division and play in the postseason. I’ve been looking forward to that opportunity for my whole life. It’s kind of a whirlwind. I’m excited. It’s going to be fun. Everybody in Cincinnati -- I’ve always said it, but I mean it -- it’s going to hold a special place in my heart. I will be there in the offseason to pick up my daughter. I will be there in the offseason. I love that zoo. I love Coffee Emporium.

“There are some other beautiful places there. Everybody going forward, I hope you fall in love with that city because it’s a special place.”

Suárez, 30, hit 31 homers last season but batted a Major League-worst .198 and struggled defensively. He was an All-Star in 2018 and followed up with a ’19 season where he slugged a career-high 49 homers.

“My heart is staying in Cincinnati,” said Suárez, who was acquired in December 2014 from the Tigers for pitcher Alfredo Simon. “Now I represent the Seattle Mariners and I will do my best for them now, like I did in Cincinnati. This is not easy. It’s tough. But I understand and I know this game is like that.

“I feel so grateful. My family and I, we appreciate everything the Cincinnati Reds did for me, the Queen City did for me.”

The key to the trade could be the acquisition of the 23-year-old Williamson. The second-round selection in the 2019 MLB Draft was the Mariners’ No. 7-ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline.

Last season in 19 starts combined for High-A Everett and Double-A Arkansas, Williamson was 4-6 with a 3.39 ERA.

Dunn, 26, was the 19th overall pick by the Mets in the 2016 Draft and was part of the December 2018 trade for second baseman Robinson Canó. He made his Major League debut vs. the Reds on Sept. 12, 2019, and is 5-4 with a 3.94 ERA in 25 career big league starts.

Before the deal, the Reds had Dunn evaluated because of a shoulder injury last season. He has been cleared to begin throwing from a mound next week.

Fraley, 26, is a lefty hitter who batted .196 in 97 games over three seasons in the Major Leagues. In 2021, he batted .210 with nine homers and 36 RBIs in 78 games for Seattle.

All three new players will compete for spots on the Opening Day roster.

“This wasn’t just a payroll move,” Krall said. “This was a move that we looked at from a future standpoint and we also looked at it as a move to bring back some talent right now. We really think Brandon Williamson is going to be on this club. The player to be named later is also a player we like, so it’s not just a throw-in there. We have a couple of months to be able to scout a group of players before we choose one.

“We’re excited about doing the deal. It also opens up the payroll flexibility and we just have to figure out where we can get better.”